Visa News

A Guide to the 2021 NZ Resident Visa

The 2021 NZ Resident Visa offers a new pathway to residency for visa holders working & living in New Zealand. Find all the details here, including how to apply.

22/10/20213 min read
A Guide to the 2021 NZ Resident Visa

The process of gaining NZ residency has been a struggle for thousands of work visa holders over the past year and a half, but there is hope at last! On

30 September 2021, the Government introduced the 2021 Resident Visa – a new pathway to residency for visa holders working and living in New Zealand. This limited opportunity will fast-track eligible work visa holders to NZ Residency – but the application process isn’t as straightforward as it may appear. Here’s everything you need to know about the 2021 New Zealand Resident Visa.

Assessing your Eligibility

To be eligible for the 2021 resident visa, you must have been in New Zealand (or trapped in Australia) on 29 September 2021 and hold an eligible work visa. If you applied for an eligible work visa by 29 September and it is later approved, then you will still be considered eligible.

But not all work visa holders will qualify – priority is given to workers currently in NZ, which means overseas NZ work visa holders are not eligible to apply. Short term visa holders in New Zealand such as visitors, seasonal workers, and students are also not eligible.

Holding an eligible visa is not the only requirement. In addition applicants must have lived in NZ for 3 years or more as at 29/09/2021; OR were earning the median wage ($27 per hour) on 29/09/2021; OR were working in a job on one of the scare occupations lists to be eligible to apply for residency.

For clarity on your eligibility, we recommend getting in touch with a licensed NZ immigration adviser as soon as possible. Using an immigration adviser from the get-go will make a huge difference to the success of your application and help you avoid crucial mistakes.

How to Apply: What’s the Process?

It’s never been more important to get your visa application right the first time around. This new resident visa truly is a ‘one off’ – get it wrong and you’ve missed your chance – the opportunity will not come around again.

Having an eligible work visa is not enough to guarantee NZ residency. Immigration NZ takes health and character requirements very seriously. All applicants must show that they are at a high standard of health and character in their application. If proven otherwise, Immigration NZ has the right to decline your application. It is crucial to be honest and transparent in your application, as leaving any details out will only delay the process further or lead to a decline.

The first wave of applications will open on 1 December 2021 to those who have applied for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category and Work to Residence category before 29 September. Applicants who have submitted an Expression of Interest by 29 September that included dependent children aged 17 or older will also be able to apply at this stage.

The second phase of the application process will begin on 1 March 2021, at which point all eligible work visa holders can apply. The deadline to lodge applications is 31 July 2022. Close family such as dependents and partners can be included in the application.

Applicants must remain eligible right up to the point the application is lodged. If circumstances have changed between 29/09/2021 and before the application is lodged – take advice.

Don’t Delay – Contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration Today

There has been a huge response to the announcement of the 2021 resident visa in NZ, so start the process early and don’t delay your application! If complications arise with your application, you will need time to find a solution. That’s why it is essential to get a professional assessment before your application is lodged.

Get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration today to ensure every step of the application process goes smoothly. Keep an eye on our website for the most recent visa information and Immigration NZ updates.

Latest Updates

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The Green List

From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.

Read more here.

16 May 22

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
10 Feb 22

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

16 Dec 21