The NZ Partnership Visa is one of the most difficult residence visas to obtain in New Zealand. Most couples will face challenges during the application process, making it all the more important to seek advice early on.
What are some of the challenges applicants face and is it possible to overcome them? Here, we explore the strict requirements of applying for residence under partnership in NZ and the issues you might face along the way.
The Partnership Visa allows you to apply for NZ residency based on your partnership with a New Zealand resident or citizen. To apply for residence under partnership, you and your partner must prove to Immigration New Zealand that your relationship is “genuine and stable.” Immigration NZ defines a partnership as two people in either a legal marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship; the couple must be living together and be able to provide evidence of such. Official evidence may include bank statements, marriage certificates, joint credit cards, or a joint rental agreement. Supporting evidence such as social media posts, photos together, and mail addressed to both of you could also help to prove your case. The problem is, even the most genuine and stable relationships may not have all the evidence they need to support their case.
At the time you lodge the residence application you must have been living together for 12 months or longer. This means on the date you press “submit” Immigration NZ will immediately go back 12 months from that “submit” date to be satisfied you have lived together throughout the 12 month period before you applied. For example, if you lodge the application on the first day of December but you didn’t start living with your partner until the last day of December the year before you will be considered to have lived together for 11 months. In that scenario, the residence application would be declined. The “living together” requirement just does not end on the day the application is lodged. Immigration NZ keeps assessing you are still living together right up to the day the visa is issued. If you are overseas when the visa is issued then until you arrive in New Zealand you have an obligation to inform Immigration NZ of any change in circumstances, including if you and your partner stop living together.
Immigration officers consider a range of other factors when assessing your application, some of which can feel quite intrusive. This may include how you share household tasks, how committed you are to a life-long relationship, child-care & financial arrangements... the list goes on.
Relationships are complex; applying for a visa based on your relationship with another person can therefore be very complicated. Unfortunately, immigration officers don’t always consider these complexities when assessing applications. You either meet the criteria, or you don’t.
The expectation that a couple must live together to be considered “genuine and stable’ is the biggest challenge for most couples. If there was a period when you and your partner lived apart, you can expect Immigration New Zealand to question this. But what if your partner had work commitments in another city or country? What if you and your partner lived apart for cultural or religious reasons? Many factors could affect a couple’s living arrangements.
In your application, you’ll need to explain (and prove) why you lived apart. Immigration New Zealand will assess how living apart affected your relationship, but this can be difficult for a third party to judge.
As you can see, applying for a Partnership Visa is a unique challenge. No matter how genuine your relationship may feel from your point of view, there are no guarantees with the visa application process. We recommend speaking with an NZ immigration adviser early on to determine your eligibility and chances of success. At Malcolm Pacific Immigration, we can help you figure out the best solution for your needs. Get in touch today for reliable immigration advice and support.
Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.
Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.
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Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.
The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.
The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.
From 19 July 2021
From 30 June 2021
Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.
From mid-2020 (delayed)
Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.
From 15 February 2021
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.
From 7 October 2020
The government added four new occupations that are now regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. These are:
Aged or disabled carer, Bicycle mechanic, Driller and Nursing Support worker.
From 27 July 2020
Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.
From 27 May 2020
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.
Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:
From 24 February 2020
From 7 October 2019
The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.
From 1 November 2021
From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.
Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.
Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.
The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.
The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 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.
The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:
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:
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 the visa eligibility criteria:
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.
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.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
The work visa categories set to close are:
In order to address labour shortages in New Zealand's crucial industries the NZ government has implemented a "Green List" of sought-after high-skill occupations. This list offers a prioritised pathway to residency.
There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Occupations are broken down into two tiers:
The recent additions in May 2023 across many sectors on the Green List NZ can be found here