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<p></p> 2021 Resident Visa - Explained <p></p> 2021 Resident Visa - Explained

2021 Resident Visa - Explained

2021 Resident Visa - Explained

More on the 2021 One-off Resident Visa

On 30 September 2021, the Government announced a new one-off residence visa pathway for some temporary work visa holders currently in New Zealand. Some people arriving in New Zealand between 30 September 2021 and 31 July 2022 on long-term visas may also be eligible for this new visa. Partners and dependent children can be included. 

Here is a summary of the 2021 Resident Visa details written by our Licensed Immigration Advisers. On this page, you will find:


The three gateways to eligibility

To be eligible for the resident visa, there are three ‘gateways’ that need to be crossed. 

Gateway One: Must be in New Zealand

To apply for the 2021 Resident Visa, an applicant must be in New Zealand on the date they apply.

Furthermore, they must have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021 – that is to say, if a person happened to be out of the country on that date, they will not be eligible.

There are some exceptions to this ’29 September’ rule – if you fall under one of the categories below, you may be eligible even if you were not in New Zealand on 29 September 2021, provided that you arrive in New Zealand by 31 July and lodge your resident visa by that date:

  • Critical health workers arriving from overseas on a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa before 31 July 2022, with a visa length of at least 6 months
  • Other critical workers visa holders arriving from overseas on a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa before 31 July 2022, with a visa length longer than 6 months
  • Temporary visa holders in Australia who left New Zealand between 06 April and 23 July 2021, and meet all other requirements

Example 1: James was in New Zealand on 29 September 2021. He briefly leaves New Zealand for an overseas holiday in a quarantine-free travel zone, and returns to New Zealand before applying for residence. He may be eligible, because he was in New Zealand both on 29 September and the date he applies.

Example 2: Kiran was in New Zealand on 29 September 2021. Just before applying for residence, he travels to India due to a family emergency, and is unable to return to New Zealand before 31 July 2021. He is NOT eligible to apply, because he cannot lodge his application from overseas.

Example 3: Fatima is an overseas nurse who arrives in New Zealand on a 6-month Critical Purpose Visitor Visa on 25 March 2022. She is eligible to apply: although she was not in New Zealand on 29 September, she meets one of the exception criteria for this rule.

Some Dependent Child principal applicants aged 25 and over may lodge their resident visa applications from overseas without being in New Zealand either on 29 September or on the date they apply. (Please see our answer to the question “How do children meet ‘dependent child’ requirements?” for details.)


Gateway Two: Must hold an acceptable visa type 

You must have held an acceptable visa on 29 September 2021, or have an application for one such visa that was currently being processed on 29 September 2021 that was later approved.

You must continue to hold a correct visa category both on 29 September 2021 AND on the date you submit your application.

The acceptable visa types are: 

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Post-study Work Visa
  • Work to Residence Work Visa, including:
    • Talent (Accredited Employer)
    • Long Term Skill Shortage List
    • Skilled Migrant Category Job Search
  • Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa
  • Religious Worker Work Visa
  • Special work visa for victims of people trafficking
  • Special work visas for victims of family violence
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience
  • South Island Contribution Work Visa
  • Work Visa granted under Section 61, providing that:
    • The applicant held another eligible visa type before being granted the S61 visa, AND
    • held that eligible visa within 6 months of the application being made
  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV): 
    • Critical health workers for longer-term roles (6 months or longer), and 
    • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months). 

Example 1: Sandeep held a Post Study Work Visa on 29 September 2021, and later obtained an Essential Skills Work Visa before applying for residence. He remains eligible: although he has changed visa categories, both of these work visas are acceptable for residence so the change has no impact.

Example 2: Lola held an Essential Skills work Visa on 29 September 2021, and later obtained a Student Visa shortly before applying for residence. She is NOT eligible: although she held an acceptable visa on 29 September, she no longer holds an acceptable visa on the date she applies.

Example 3: Hichiro held a student visa on 29 September 2021, but had already applied for a Post Study Work Visa on 20 September. His Post Study Work Visa is approved on 20 October and he continues to hold it when he applies for residence. Hichiro is eligible: although he did not hold an acceptable visa on 29 September, he had submitted an application for one that was later approved.


Gateway Three: Must meet at least ONE additional eligibility criterion: Settled, Skilled, or Scarce 

If you’ve crossed gateways one and two, now comes the tricky part. You need to meet at least one of the following criteria – you only need to meet ONE of them, not all. However, as with all other eligibility criteria, you need to have met the requirement both on 29 September 2021 AND on the date you apply.

  • Settled: You arrived in NZ on or before 29/09/2018, AND spent at least 821 days in NZ between that date and 29/09/2021; OR 
  • Skilled: You earned $27 per hour as of 29/09/2021 while working on a full-time employment agreement or contract (30+ hours a week); OR 
  • Scarce: You work in an occupation on one of the ‘scarce lists’ (see below)



This is arguably the easiest eligibility criterion to meet, and will apply to the majority of eligible candidates.

You can obtain your travel movements summary by contacting INZ directly. If you go through us, we can do this on your behalf.

Example 1: Rupinder arrived in New Zealand on 15 September 2018. She left New Zealand for a family visit in India on 28 February 2020, but became stuck there due to the border closure and was not able to return until 23 July 2021. She is NOT eligible under ‘Settled’: although she arrived in New Zealand before 29 September 2018, her total time spent in New Zealand between 29/09/18 and 29/09/21 is less than 821 days. (Rupinder may be eligible under ‘skilled’ or ‘scarce’, however).

Example 2: Henrietta arrived in New Zealand on 09 January 2018 and has not left the country since. She has been on a Post Study Work Visa since June 2021 but is unemployed, as she has a young child to take care of. She is eligible: she only needs to meet ‘settled’, details of her employment are not relevant.


Employment must be genuine and full-time. You must have been paid $27 or above on 29 September 2021, OR have lodged an application by that date for an eligible visa/VOC that specified that pay rate in the employment agreement. The application or VOC must have been subsequently approved.

If on 29 September 2021 your pay was temporarily lower than $27 due to COVID-related disruptions, or your hours were temporarily reduced to below 30 hours per week, you may still be eligible if you can prove that the reduction was caused by COVID-19 and that your usual hours and/or pay rate would meet the skilled requirement.

Payment is calculated per hour: if you are working on a salary then that salary will be divided by 52 weeks and then divided by the number of hours per week (eg. $60,000/52/40 = $28.85 per hour). Where a salary is paid and hours are variable, the hourly calculation will be based on the maximum number of hours per week (this may result in a lower hourly ‘wage’ calculation than you might expect).

Accommodation allowances may be included in your remuneration calculation, but other allowances (eg. transportation, tools, etc.) will not be included. Bonuses and commissions will not be included.

Aged care workers who are paid a lower rate for ‘sleepover’ hours will not be affected: for these workers, only paid hours for time spent undertaking their duties will be taken into consideration, not paid hours spent sleeping.

Example: Paolo is paid a salary of $63,000 with an agreement that requires him to work additional hours. He usually works 40 hours per week, but is often required to work an additional 10 hours per week. His pay may be calculated as 63000/52/50 = $24.23 per hour. He may NOT be eligible under ‘skilled’ (though he may be eligible under ‘settled’ or ‘scarce’).


There are several scarce lists, which can be viewed here:






Employment must be full-time and genuine (allowances can be made if caused by COVID-19 disruptions). 

When you can apply

There will be two cohorts of applicants:

The last date you can apply is 31 July 2022. As for the earliest date you can apply, there will be two phases:

Early phase: 01 December 2021

Reserved for a selection of eligible candidates, namely:

1. Those who have submitted a Skilled Migrant Category or Residence From Work application, as of 29/09/2021; OR

2. Those who have submitted an EOI under Skilled Migrant Category, AND included a dependent child aged 17 or over

Other eligible candidates will have to wait for the later phase.

Later phase: 01 March 2022

All eligible candidates may apply from this date.

Application Fee for the new 2021 Resident Visa

The total cost of the 2021 Resident Visa will be $2,160. It includes a $1330 application fee and $830 immigration levy.

Charges will be collected differently for those who have already submitted an EOI or application for residence, and those who have not. Please read more details on our FAQ page here.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the 2021 Resident Visa

Check out our new FAQ page here.

Our Service Fee & December (and New Year) Special

Our standard service fee for the 2021 Resident Visa is from $1,999 +GST - an unprecedented low for a resident visa.

We will be transparent on why the price is lower than other resident visas: the reason is that the application will be simpler to prepare (in previous years, our minimum service fee for Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa would usually be upwards of $4,000). We charge according to the complexity of the application and the amount of work involved, not because we intend to offer a lower standard of service than usual.

Click the banner below and use our free Eligibility Test Tool and complete the form to sign up for our service now.

You can also use our Service Fee Estimator to have some ideas of how much our application service may cost.


Will the service fee be the same for everyone?

When you first reach out to us, we will conduct a free eligibility assessment and give you a quote on our service fee. The $1,999 +GST price is a base price, but if your circumstances involve some complications, or include other applicants such as partners or children, we may quote a higher fee.

This quote will be disclosed before you sign up with us, and we will not charge you additional service fees later on, even if your application involves more work than initially expected. The price we quote you at the outset will the final sum you need to pay to us, right up to the decision on your application.

If I sign and pay now, but later on change my mind and decide not to use your services, will I be eligible for a refund?

We have a refund policy that may make you eligible to get your money back if you change your mind later. This will be provided to you before you sign up and pay any fees.

Signing with us now gives you the advantage of knowing your application will be handled later on, and ensures lower fees than if you approach us at the last minute. However, we understand that circumstances can change, and will treat you fairly if they do.

Why should you use an immigration adviser on a simpler application like this? 

If the application process is easier than usual, you might be wondering why you should engage professional help at all if you can handle the application yourself and save money. It’s a fair question, and we of course respect anyone’s choice to represent themselves. 

But while we fully expect that most applicants will be granted the visa without ever contacting an immigration adviser or lawyer for help, some people will be declined – since this visa category is open for a limited period (until 31 July 2022), those who are declined may not have a chance to reapply, and will have lost their opportunity for residence. 

We are offering added security to your residence dreams, as your application will be safe under the care of experienced professionals who have helped thousands of migrants in their visa pathways over many years. We believe that a one-time expense for professional help is well worth making New Zealand a lifetime home country for you and your family.


(Disclaimer: We will be revising this website regularly as we find out more, but this information should not be read as immigration advice or form the sole basis of any decisions you make. Please talk to us, call the Immigration Contact Centre, or visit the Immigration New Zealand website to find out more. )


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