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(Updated on 13 Oct 2021)
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 dependents children can be included.
Here is a summary of what we know so far. Please remember that nothing has been written into law yet, and all requirements are subject to change. 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.
On this page, you will find:
To be eligible for the resident visa, there are three ‘gateways’ that need to be crossed.
Gateway One: Must be in New Zealand (unless eligible for an exception)
To apply for the 2021 Resident Visa, an applicant must be in New Zealand. 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 or arrives afterwards, they will not be eligible.
There are some important exceptions: critical health workers arriving from overseas as a border exception before 31 July 2022 with a visa length of at least 6 months, as well as ‘other critical worker’ visa holders arriving in that timeframe whose visas are over 6 months long – these people will be eligible to apply. Some other exceptions may be included, including certain temporary visa holders currently stuck in Australia. In any event, these people must arrive in New Zealand by 31 July 2022 and apply for the visa by that date.
Gateway Two: Must hold the correct visa type
The acceptable visa types are:
You must have held one of these visa categories on 29 September 2021, or have applied for one on or before that date, and subsequently been granted the visa.
Gateway Three: Must meet at least ONE additional eligibility criterion
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:
1. Arrived in NZ on or before 29/09/2018, AND spent at least 821 days in NZ during that period; OR
2. Earning $27 per hour as of 29/09/2021 and working full-time; OR
3. Work in a Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) occupation; OR
4. Work in healthcare or education in an occupation requiring professional registration/licensing; OR
5. Work in essential health care services; OR
6. Work in the Primary Sector in a specified role
There will be two cohorts of applicants:
Early cohort: 01 December 2021
Reserved for a selection of eligible candidates, namely:
Other eligible candidates will have to wait for the later cohort.
Later cohort: 01 March 2022
All eligible candidates may apply from this date.
Yes, you can include your partner and/or dependent children in this visa.
As stated above, the principal applicant must be in NZ to apply for this visa. However, the included family may be in or outside of NZ.
Migrants have been understandably cynical about resident visa processing times, with SMC and Residence from Work blowing out to historically unprecedented levels (roughly two years from application date to decision). However, there are reasons for optimism here.
The government has clearly made requirements simple for the majority of applicants. This appears to be geared towards quick and easy processing at INZ’s end.
The government expects to process all visa applications within 12 months of submission, but applications may be processed much sooner than this.
An example of this is someone working full-time on $27 per hour in September 2021, but who has become unemployed in March 2022. They would then no longer meet requirements for residence based on their wage.
According to what we've been told, applicants must meet requirements on 29/09/2021 and on the date they submit their application.
According to what we have been told, there are no plans to have an English language requirement or age cap for this visa category.
The application fee has yet to be announced. We should know more by the end of October.
You can secure our services today!
If you commit to signing with us by 31 October 2021, and pre-pay your fees at the time, we can offer you a large discount. You will have peace of mind knowing that your application is in good hands – although we cannot submit your application immediately, we will commit to doing so as soon as we can.
We include a free, no-obligations eligibility assessment as part of the package, and if we deem you to meet eligibility you’ll be invited to sign with us. Pre-pay your fees, and you will be eligible for a refund later (subject to our refund policy, which will be given to you before you pay).
Although we do not know all the details yet, what we know already is sufficient to give you a preliminary assessment, and if we have assessed you as eligible now, and policy changes later cause you to become ineligible, we will commit to giving you a 100% refund. We are not interested in taking money from clients we have no chance of helping.
For the new 2021 Resident Visa, our standard service fee is from $1,999 +GST - an unprecedented low for a resident visa.
We will be transparent on why the price is low: the reason is that the application will be simpler to prepare compared to other resident visas (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.
On top of the lower service fee for this new visa, we are offering an Early Bird Special starting from $999 plus GST. We have limited places available so we encourage you to enquire today and not miss out on this opportunity.
You may be thinking that if the application process is so simple, why not just handle the case yourself? It’s a fair question, and we of course respect anyone’s choice to represent themselves.
We fully expect that most migrants applying for this visa category will do so by themselves, and most of them will be granted the visa without ever contacting an immigration adviser or lawyer for help. But 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, for the price of a few weeks’ grocery shopping. While the choice is entirely yours to make, we hope you will take this offer.