Visa News
September 13, 2022

New Zealand Resident Visa Options: The Pathway to Residence

New Zealand is an attractive destination to immigrate to due to its temperate weather and safe environment. Learn more about your pathway to residence.
New Zealand Resident Visa Options: The Pathway to Residence
New Zealand Resident Visa Options: The Pathway to Residence

New Zealand is a tempting destination to immigrate to due to its temperate weather, beautiful sceneries, and safe environment to live in. It provides promising job opportunities to newbies as well as experienced workers. ‍

Many individuals dream about starting a new life in New Zealand. A New Zealand resident holding a resident visa is comparable to a New Zealand citizen, with only one exception. New Zealand residents may have limitations set on their travel in and out of the country until they can claim either a permanent resident visa or citizenship and travel freely. ‍

When considering your pathway to residency, the visa you can apply for depends on what type of career you have or your relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident. There are visa options that will allow you to gain residency after two years of work (work to residence visa NZ) and residency straight away if you are considered a critical worker.‍

There are criteria you may have to meet for each visa, for example, the time in the country, who you work for in New Zealand and having to earn a minimum salary to get a resident visa. So it's important to consult with qualified licensed Immigration advisers to ensure you are set up for a successful application. 

What Is the Difference Between a Resident Visa and a Permanent Resident Visa?‍

A resident visa grants you the right to live in New Zealand for the period stated on your visa. You have access to the health, education and voting systems in the country. However, as the holder of a resident visa, you will need to apply for another visa when the travel conditions expire.‍

After a period of time, the holder of a resident visa can apply for a permanent resident visa. This allows the individual to enter the country freely without time limitations. A resident wishing to make their stay here permanent must demonstrate that they have committed to living in New Zealand to be accepted as a permanent resident. This may be through a financial or business investment or the time they have resided in the country. The time interval between holding a resident visa and then applying for a permanent residency is generally 24 months or more. ‍

For more information and advice on this and how to start your personal pathway to residency, talk to one of the best firms of immigration advisers, Malcolm Pacific Immigration.

What Are the Different Visa Options as Pathways to Residency in New Zealand?

Gaining a resident visa is the gateway to permanent resident visas and, in the future, a New Zealand citizen. There are multiple avenues that you can take to apply for residency. ‍

Understanding what is best for you can feel like a minefield. However, taking advice from professionals can help reduce that stress. 

The Fast-Track to Permanent Residency

There are a handful of opportunities that allow you to become a permanent resident without the mandatory first steps of working to gain residency. These are:

Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa

If your partner is a citizen of New Zealand and they live in New Zealand as well, then you can apply for this visa. Your partner must support your application to obtain this residency visa 

Minimum Requirements: 

  • Your partner must hold New Zealand citizenship or a resident visa.
  • You must provide evidence that you have been living together for at least 12 months and are in a genuine relationship
  • If you have lived together for more than 5 years outside New Zealand, then you may be entitled to a permanent resident visa straight away.

Parent Retirement Resident Visa

If you are a parent to an adult child who is either a citizen or a resident of New Zealand and wish to move with them, then this visa could be the right option for entry. There is a mandatory investment of money you will need to make in New Zealand and have funds to support yourself. This application can be best guided by immigration advisers. 

Minimum Requirements:

  • A grown-up child who is a resident or citizen of New Zealand.
  • An annual income of $60,000 NZ with an extra NZ $1 million for a 4-year investment. If you succeed in completing this 4-year investment duration, then you will be qualified for permanent residence.
  • An additional $500,000 NZ is required for living. These funds do not have to be transferred to NZ. 

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

You can apply for this visa if you have the skills and proficiency to grow the economy of New Zealand. You can include your partner as well as dependent children in this visa. If you are self-employed, then this visa isn't for you. If your application for this visa is successful, then you can live in New Zealand permanently.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Your age should be 55 years or below.
  • You have to send an Expression of Interest (EOI) which tells us more about your credentials, work experience, and career in New Zealand. Your EOI is assessed on the point-based system. EOIs with 160 points or more are normally selected. 
  • This Skilled Migrant category is under review; changes are expected when it reopens soon. 

What Temporary Visas Are Pathway to Residency in New Zealand?

Different types of visas give you residency in New Zealand for a certain period. These visas have a specific time limit with some distinct conditions that you must follow. If you are planning to make New Zealand your permanent home, it is important to choose the right visa so that you have a pathway to residence and potentially citizenship in the future. 

Work to Residency Visas

Talent Work Visa NZ

If you have an outstanding international talent in fields like art, sports, or culture and want to live in New Zealand, then this visa will support that. It falls into the category of work to residence visa NZ

If you complete two years working in your field in NZ, this will help you obtain a permanent resident visa, including your partner and dependent children. This visa allows you to live in New Zealand for approximately 30 months and apply for residence after 24 months. 

Minimum Requirements:

  • You must be 55 years old or below.
  • A New Zealand association that has recognised your talent should support you to get this visa.
  • A sponsor who acknowledges the distinction in your talent.

Entrepreneur Work Visa NZ

This visa will help you launch your own business in New Zealand. This is also a type of work-to-residence visa NZ which first gives you the opportunity to start a business and, based on its success, can lead to permanent residency. ‍

Minimum Requirements: 

  • An approved business plan and view of the future of your business.
  • A minimum of NZ $100,000 for investment.

The approval is based on the business being deemed ‘a substantial benefit’ for New Zealand. To understand more about what Immigration NZ looks for when approving this visa application talk to an Immigration adviser for impartial, professional advice, as this visa has a very high failure rate.  ‍

When Will I Be Eligible for a Permanent Residency Visa?

In general, it's not just about time; it’s about fitting the criteria. 

  • You must hold a resident visa for 2 years or more.
  • You need to show a commitment to New Zealand (this is measured in various ways, including time in the country; or investments; or tax residence status - take advice for more detail).
  • You need to maintain a good character.

A Few Takeaways

It is the dream of many individuals to settle and live in New Zealand permanently. New Zealand immigration can provide clear pathways to gain a resident visa or even a permanent resident visa for migrants.

It can be a complicated, time-consuming process, and that's where Malcolm Pacific Immigration can make a difference. Talk to us today for more information.

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