woman thinking about a resident visa in NZ

2021 Resident Visa – Limited opportunity!

The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand.


Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022.


The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022. Applications will not be accepted after this date.


Who can apply?
People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet one of the visa eligibility criteria below.

  1. Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR

  2. Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence. 

Is this the only requirement to qualify for residence?


No. In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to be regarded as one of the following:


  1. Settled. This means having lived in NZ for 3 years or more (that is arrived in NZ on or before 29/9/2018 and spent a minimum of 821 days in NZ between 29/9/2018 & 29/9/2021); OR

  2. Skilled. This means earning the median wage ($27 per hour or higher) or above on 29/9/2021 and still paid at that rate of remuneration (or higher) on the date the residence application is lodged; OR

  3. Scarce. This means working in a job that appears on the approved scarce occupation lists on 29/9/2021 and is still working in one of those occupations on the date the application for residence is lodged.

The first wave of applications opens on 1 December 2021.


The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa are those that on 29/09/2021:

  1. Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR

  2. Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.

Remember this group still need to hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. 

Immigration NZ estimate around 16,000 applications will be lodged in the first wave. 

The second wave of applications opens on 1 March 2022.


The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. 

In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa and once family are included in the applications around 165,000 people will hope to become new residents. 

Special pathway for holders of Critical Purpose Visitor Visas. 


A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application before the category closes on 31 July 2022.


There are a small class of workers (mainly seasonal workers) who will not qualify.


We recommend you take advice to see if you will qualify.  

Will everyone holding a valid work visa qualify?




Only certain types of work visas qualify. To find out if you hold an eligible work visa to qualify for this visa contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration for advice. If you do not qualify our team will assess if there are other pathways to residence. 

The detail matters


Health and character requirements will apply to everyone that applies. In some cases a new immigration medical may be required, in others, it may not. NZ police checks will be undertaken by Immigration NZ. 


Immigration NZ reserve the right to ask for more information after an application is lodged to verify pay, employment etc.

Close family can be included in the application.

Making sure your 2021 Resident Visa application is properly documented will speed along the process and should result in approval. Avoid mistakes by dealing with experts. 


What should you do next?


Get in touch today for a free assessment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable licensed immigration advisers. You need to get this right the first time because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity!


This is a limited opportunity – don’t delay.


Call us 0800 800 612 or Contact Us or send a message below and we will get right back in touch with you.

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