Last month Immigration New Zealand announced the new 2021 resident visa – a new pathway to residence for migrants who live and work in New Zealand. More information has recently been released on the requirements and procedures.
The cut-off date for applying is 31 July 2022. It’s important to get all the paperwork right in preparation to apply once the application process opens. We would love to assist you to apply for the new resident visa. You can complete our free assessment form here The New 2021 Resident Visa Assessment (accessnz.com)
The first phase of applications for the 2021 Resident Visa opens on 1 December 2021. Those who had, on or before 29 September 2021, submitted an expression of interest (EOI) for the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Visa which also included a dependent child over the age of 17 may apply for the 2021 Resident Visa in this first phase, as can those with pending residence applications under the Skilled Migrant and Residence from Work (RfW) categories.
The second phase of application for the 2021 Resident Visa opens on 1 March 2022 for all others eligible, including Critical Purpose Visa holders who do not qualify to apply in the first phase.
Some critical workers coming to New Zealand for a longer-term (6+ months) role do not need to meet settled, skilled or scarce criteria if they held a Critical Purpose Visa 29 September 2021 or were granted one after that date.
To be eligible, those granted a Critical Purpose Visa to obtain occupational registration as a nurse in New Zealand must:
• pass their Competence Assessment Programme and secure occupational registration, or
• have transitioned to an eligible work visa before or on 29 September 2021 and meet either settled, skilled or scarce requirements.
First phase applicant requirements
To be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa, first phase applicants will need to meet criteria on two dates:
• 29 September 2021, which is the day before the announcement of the 2021 Resident Visa, and
• the date they submit their application.
The principal applicant is the temporary work visa holder applying for the 2021 Resident Visa. Secondary applicants are any partners or dependants included in the application.
Principal applicants can meet the skilled criteria on one date and the scarce criteria on another and still be eligible.
Principal applicants must have been in New Zealand or Australia on 29 September 2021, or subsequently granted an eligible Critical Purpose visa. Those in Australia must have left New Zealand between 6 April 2021 and 23 July 2021 (inclusive). All applicants must be in New Zealand to apply.
To be eligible under the settled criteria, applicants are required to have first arrived in New Zealand on or before 29 September 2018 and spent at least 75% of the three years (821 days) after that date here.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will use travel records to determine whether an applicant is settled. No further evidence will be needed from applicants to determine whether they meet settle criteria.
To be eligible under the skilled criteria, applicants must normally be paid at least NZD$27 per hour for an average of at least 30 hours per week on 29 September 2021 and the date they apply. Those temporarily affected by COVID-19-related disruption to business activity must be able to show they were previously paid that rate.
Our remuneration calculation excludes employment-related allowances and performance bonuses.
Self-employed contractors with a consistent history of contract work and a current contract for services may be eligible.
• an employment agreement or a letter from their employer confirming the pay and hours, and
• a full bank statement or an Inland Revenue summary of income or payslips.
Applicants paid less than $27 per hour may be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa if their occupation is considered scarce.
To be eligible under the scarce criteria, an applicant must normally have been employed for an average of at least 30 hours per week in a role on a list of scarce occupations on 29 September 2021 and the date they apply. Those temporarily affected by COVID-19-related disruption to business activity must previously have been working for an average of at least 30 hours per week.
Scarce occupation lists:
• Long Term Skills Shortage List
• Jobs requiring occupational registration in the health or education sector
• Personal carers and other critical health workers
• Specified primary sector roles
• an employment agreement or a letter from their employer confirming the occupation and hours, and
• evidence of occupational registration in New Zealand (if applicable).
Partners and dependent children in New Zealand and overseas can be included in applications as secondary applicants.
Dependent children 25+
Dependent children aged 25 and over that were included in a skilled residence or Expression of Interest (EOI) on or before 29 September cannot be included as a dependent child in a 2021 Resident Visa application. However, they can submit their own application as an attached document when they submit their online 2021 Resident Visa application. No additional fee will be charged for the child.
They can be granted their own 2021 Resident visa if:
• they meet standard health and character requirements, and
• a parent is granted a 2021 Resident Visa.
Dependent children overseas who are granted a 2021 Resident Visa are exempt from our border restrictions and may travel to New Zealand.
To approve a 2021 Resident Visa for a partner, INZ must be satisfied that the couple have lived together in a genuine and stable relationship for 12 months or more during their relationship.
INZ will consider the relationship history of couples separated by COVID-19 border restrictions or other factors when assessing applications for partners.
A partner will not be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa if they have not met or lived with the principal applicant.
A limited medical certificate will be required if:
• a medical certificate has not been provided within the last 36 months, or
• there have been subsequent changes to an applicant’s health, or
• an applicant’s standard of health was previously deemed to have not met requirements
Applicants are not required to get overseas police certificates unless there are specific concerns.
INZ will request a New Zealand Police check on the applicant’s behalf.
The total cost of the 2021 Resident Visa is NZD$2,160 including GST.
This includes a NZD$1,330 application fee and NZD$830 immigration levy.
Applicants will not need to pay another fee when they apply for a 2021 Resident Visa.
However, once an in-principle decision has been made on the 2021 Resident Visa application, the application fee will need to be paid.
At this point, for those who choose to withdraw their SMC application, the fee from that application will be used to cover the cost of the 2021 Resident Visa and the difference will be refunded.
As the RfW and SMC EOI application fees are less than the 2021 Resident Visa application, these applicants who choose to withdraw their earlier application will need to pay the difference in the fees before an application is finalised.
Those who choose not to withdraw their earlier applications will need to pay the NZD$1330 application fee for the 2021 Resident Visa. This is to cover the cost of processing both applications.
Those who have paid a levy will not need to pay it again.
From 1 March 2022 all other eligible applicants can apply, including those who have submitted a SMC EOI. All applications for the 2021 Resident Visa must be made by 31 July 2022.