NEW 2021 Resident Visa announced!

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2021 resident visa

On 30 September 2021, New Zealand’s Minister of Immigration, Kris Faafoi, announced the 2021 Resident Visa!

This 2021 Resident visa is a one-off, simplified pathway to residence for around 165,000 migrants currently in New Zealand. Some people arriving in New Zealand between 30 September 2021 and 31 July 2022 on long-term critical purpose visas may also be eligible for this new visa.

More about the 2021 Resident Visa

The 2021 Resident Visa provides a residency pathway for up to 165,000 migrants, including more than 5,000 health and aged care workers, about 9,000 primary industry workers, and more than 800 teachers.

The 2021 Resident Visa will be available to most holders of work-related visas – including Essential Skills, Work to Residence, and Post Study Work Visas – and their immediate family members.

“We are providing a way forward for our migrant families who have been long disrupted by COVID-19 while ensuring businesses have the certainty they need to plan into the future and continue driving the economic recovery,” Minister Faafoi said.

Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa will open in two phases. The first phase will start on 1 December 2021 for some eligible applicants. The second phase will kick off on 1 March 2022 for the remaining eligible applicants. The deadline for all applications is 31 July 2022.

Strict eligibility criteria

To be eligible to apply for a 2021 Resident visa, you must have met the criteria on 29 September 2021. These criteria state that you must:

  • have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021, and
  • be on an eligible visa or have applied for an eligible visa on or before 29 September 2021 that is later granted.

You must also meet one of these three criteria:

  • You have lived in New Zealand for three or more years, which means you must have:
    • arrived in New Zealand on or before 29 September 2018, and
    • have spent a minimum of 821 days in New Zealand between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021.
  • You earn at or above the median wage (NZD27 per hour)
  • You work in a job on a scarce list, which includes:
    • Jobs on the Long Term Skill Shortage List
    • Jobs requiring occupational registration in the health or education sector
    • Personal carer and other critical health workers
    • Specified primary sector jobs

The New Zealand government may still consider you eligible to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa if you meet the criteria but you are in Australia and have been unable to return to New Zealand by 29 September 2021.

You must hold one of these 15 eligible visas

As stated above, you must hold an eligible visa on the 29th of September. The eligible visas are as follows:

  • Post Study Work Visa
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Religious Worker Work Visa
  • Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa
  • Trafficking Victim Work Visa
  • Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa
  • Skilled Migration Category Job Search Work Visa
  • Victims of Family Violence Work Visa
  • South Island Contribution Work Visa
  • Work Visa granted under section 61, provided you held another eligible visa type within six months before being granted a Section 61 visa
  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas:
    • Critical health workers for longer-term roles (6 months or longer)
    • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months)

Unfortunately, short-term visa holders are not eligible. These visa holders include visitors, students, working holiday makers, and seasonal workers like those on the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme or those who enter as short-term critical workers.

The application process will have two phases

The 2021 Resident visa will be open for applications in two phases, with the first group of people able to apply from 1 December 2021.

From 1 December 2021 you can apply if:

  • You have already applied for residence under the Skilled Migrant and Residence from Work categories before 29 September 2021, or
  • You have submitted a Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest, and have included your dependent child in the Expression of Interest aged 17 years or older on 29 September 2021.

From 1 March 2022, all other eligible applicants can apply, including all others who have submitted a Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest.

Immigration New Zealand will contact visa holders who are eligible to apply from 1 December by the end of October with more information about the application process.

What are your options if you don’t meet the criteria for the 2021 Resident Visa?

The New Zealand government has advised anyone in New Zealand who does not meet the criteria of the 2021 Resident Visa to look at what other resident pathways or temporary visa options may be available to them.

Please feel free to contact us in the event that you need assistance with extending your stay in New Zealand. Our advisors are registered and licensed to provide advice on all residency options for New Zealand.

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