Did you know your browser is out of date?

To get the best possible experience using our website we recommmend that you upgrade to a newer version or other web browser. IE8 is no longer supported. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below. Click on the links to get to the download page.

2021 Resident Visa - Explained 2021 Resident Visa - Explained
2021 Resident Visa - Explained

2021 Resident Visa - Explained

(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:

Eligibility flow chart

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 (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: 

  • Post Study Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa 
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa 
  • Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa 
  • Skilled Migrant Category Job Search Work Visa 
  • Religious Worker Work Visa 
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa 
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa 
  • Trafficking Victim Work Visa 
  • Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa 
  • Victims of Family Violence Work Visa 
  • South Island Contribution Work Visa 
  • Work Visa granted under Section 61 (provided the applicant held another eligible visa type within 6 months before being granted a Section 61 visa) 
  • 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). 

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 

When you can apply

There will be two cohorts of applicants:

Early cohort: 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 cohort.

Later cohort: 01 March 2022

All eligible candidates may apply from this date.


Can family be included in the new 2021 Resident Visa?

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. 


How long will the 2021 Resident Visa take to process?

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.


What if I met the requirements on 29/09/2021, but no longer meet them when I apply? 

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. 


Will there be English language and age requirements for the 2021 Resident Visa? 

According to what we have been told, there are no plans to have an English language requirement or age cap for this visa category. 


What will be the application fee for the 2021 Resident Visa? 

The application fee has yet to be announced. We should know more by the end of October. 


Can I do anything now to prepare for the 2021 Resident Visa?

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. 

Our service fee & Early Bird Special

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. 

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

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. 


Featured Schools