2021 Resident Visa – one week to launch date!


Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa that is 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.


Many will want to apply on day one to be at the front of the queue. That’s understandable particularly when the wait has dragged on for so many years. We have seen first hand the impact on people’s lives from the ongoing uncertainty around clear pathways to residence. However, a word of caution. In the rush to be first and with applications submitted online it is very easy to make mistakes. Not reading or understanding a question in the application form, uploading the wrong documents, or not providing the right information can create delays, stress and may even lead to an application failing.


The ultimate mission is for the resident visa to be approved. If that takes a bit more time by being careful and making sure the application is 100% right before hitting the “submit” button then a steady pace is far better than rushing in to win the race.


The second wave of applicants can apply from 1 March 2022. While that may seem a long time to wait it’s only three months away and with summer holidays around the corner time March will roll around in a flash. It makes sense to get prepared now for your March 2022 application by gathering all the necesary paperwork.


Some updates since our last newsletter.

  • The Minister of Immigration is not prepared to include Specific Purpose Work Visas on the list of eligible work visas for the 2021 Resident Visa. This does mean some highly skilled people including doctors, dentists, IT specialists and digital animators will miss out. In most cases they need to wait for the Skilled Migrant Category to reopen in 2022.

  • The online application form is only available from 1 December. Those eligible to apply from 1 March 2022 should not attempt to apply early because the application will be declined.

  • People applying on the basis of earning the median wage ($27 per hour or more) can expect some flexibility on pay rates that were affected during lockdowns. Take advice.

  • Once an application is approved Immigration NZ may request the original passport if it has not been scanned into their system before.

  • Resident Visas will be issued electronically.

  • If family currently overseas are included in an application they will still need to complete MIQ on arrival and be fully vaccinated before travel despite holding a valid Resident Visa. See our seperate MIQ article on the latest government annocument and requirments.

  • The government application fee for the 2021 Resident Visa has been set at $2,160 (comparable to the Skilled Migrant application fee of $2,710 but higher than a Residence from Work application fee of $1,800).

  • If a 2021 Resident Visa application is declined there will be the right to appeal that decision.

We have updated our 2021 Resident Visa information page setting out more detail on eligibility here


People who do not qualify under the 2021 Resident Visa may need to wait for the reopening of the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). This is expected around August 2022 when the 2021 Resident Visa has closed and the government has completed the review of SMC.


There are a limited number of other pathways to residence which you can discuss with an experienced licensed immigration adviser. Get in touch with our team for a free assessment today


A bit of immigration history. Malcolm Pacific Immigration has been around for a long time (over 36 years now). We remember that back in 1988 a previous Labour government introduced the “gift of time” to fast track people who had applied for residence, held a valid job offer and had suitable accommodation. Back then residence processing queues were at two years or longer………..does all this sound rather familiar? The more things change the more they stay the same.

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