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2021 Resident Visa

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2021 Resident Visa

The new one-off 2021 Resident Visa is for some temporary work visa holders already in New Zealand and some critical purpose visa holders still arriving in New Zealand and looking to apply for residence.

Applications can be lodged in two phases and the last date for submitting applications is 31 July 2022.Please click here to find out who can apply in each phase.

Must Meet Criteria

To be eligible, applicants must have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021 AND be on an eligible visa or should have applied for an eligible visa on or before 29 September 2021 that is later granted. Also, they must meet any one of the settled, skilled or scarce criteria.

Eligible Visas

Short term visa holders like visitors, students, working holiday makers & seasonal workers are not eligible to apply for this visa.

Critical Purpose Visa Holders

The rules are slightly different for Critical Purpose Visa Holders. Critical health workers or other critical workers in long term roles (6 months or more) do not need to meet the settled, skilled or scarce criteria if they:

  • held a critical purpose work visa on 29 September 2021 OR
  • were granted a critical purpose work visa after 29 September 2021

If you arrived in New Zealand on a Critical Purpose visa but moved to an eligible visa on or before 29 September 2021, then you will have to meet one of the settled, skilled or scarce criteria.

Critical workers in short term (less than 06 months) or seasonal roles are not eligible to apply for this visa.

Partners & Dependent Children
Partners and dependent children can be included in the 2021 Resident Visa application. Dependent children aged 25 years and over may be eligible for a 2021 Resident visa based on certain eligibility criteria even if they are not in New Zealand.

Source: Click here

FAQs – New Resident Visa 2021

The FAQs for this category of visas has been compiled below to answer most of your queries. The answers are based on the information available on the immigration website as of date.

If your queries are different to these FAQs, please mail us at [email protected]

Eligibility FAQs

No, unfortunately you cannot. The new category of Residence Visa is for migrants who are already in New Zealand.

A job offer is not a requirement for this visa. You can apply as long as you were earning NZ$ 27 per hour or more on 29 September 2021 and meet the eligibility requirements for this new category of Residence Visa.

Applicants whose SMC EOIs are still in the pool and who meet the criteria for the new Resident Visa can apply.

Yes, you can provided you have applied for a SMC visa or Residence from Work visa before 29 September 2021 and are still awaiting the outcome.  If you have not yet applied for any other Resident Visa, you can apply for the new 2021 Resident Visa in Phase 2.

As per the advice received from INZ, if you have spent 3 years in New Zealand including spending 821 days in New Zealand between 29September 2018 and 29September 2021 and you were in NZ on 29 September 2021, then ‘working’ is not a requirement as you meet the period of living in New Zealand criterion.

You can be eligible to apply for this new 2021 Residence Visa subject to you meeting the eligibility criteria for this new residence category, as this category was not in existence when your EOI was made.

Yes, so long as they meet the scarce/skilled criteria at the time of making the 2021 Resident Visa application.

Yes, as long the said applications such as SMC / RFW / EOI are accepted on or before 29th September 2021 and that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for the 2021 Resident Visa, can apply in their own right.

If the applicant holds an employer-assisted work visa and is not working with the same employer, they would no longer meet the conditions of that visa and should take immediate steps to remedy the situation and then apply for the said resident visa.

Yes, so long as their CPVV was granted on basis of them being critical health workers and other critical workers with more than 6 months duration visa.

No, the applicant is required to hold an eligible visa or have applied for one by that date

No, people who were unlawful on 29th September 2021 are not eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa.

Settled Criterion FAQs

Yes, you can, if you have spent 3 years in NZ including spending 821 days in NZ between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021 and you were in NZ on 29 September 2021.

The stay in NZ does not have to be consecutive. You can apply as long as you have spent 3 years in NZ (including spending 821 days in NZ between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021) and were in NZ on 29 September 2021.

In case you do not meet this requirement, then you can check to see if you meet the other requirements.

One of the requirements is that you must have arrived in NZ on or before 29 September 2018. Hence you are not eligible for the new 2021 Resident Visa.

No, it does not matter on which visa the applicant arrived in New Zealand, as long as they have been on an eligible visa on 29th September 2021 and on the date they are submitting their 2021 Resident Visa application, even if they are applying under settled criteria.

The fastest way to find out the total number of days spent in New Zealand is to call the Immigration Contact Centre.

Skilled Criterion FAQs

To be eligible for this new resident category, you must meet the eligibility criteria as on 29 September 2021 as well as on your application submission date. However, it would be wise to refer to the relevant immigration instructions on the government website.

No, you are not eligible to apply under this particular criterion, as the requirement is that you be paid a minimum of NZ $27 an hour on 29September 2021.  However, you can still apply if you meet the other eligibility criteria under this new resident visa category.  Please refer to FAQ no. 2 for the eligibility criteria details.

No, you will not be eligible to apply under this category.  As per the requirement and eligibility criteria, you had to be paid at least NZ $27 per hour on 29September 2021 and on the day, you submit a new visa application to Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

As per the advice received from INZ, you must be working in an employment for full-time. In order for you to be working full-time, you should be working for at least 30 hours per week.

No, an applicant needs to be paid NZ $27 per hour for every hour worked and the same should be reflected in their employment documents and employment agreement.

Scarce List Criterion FAQs

This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis for each applicant in line with the immigration instructions.

The scarce lists are broad and include a range of skill levels. This will make the assessment simpler in the most cases. If an applicant holds a work visa which mentions the employer and occupation, INZ will consider information provided with the previous application along with the employment agreement or letter from the employer that is provided with the 2021 Resident Visa application. The immigration officer may request a job description or other evidence if required and this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

INZ has advised that they will assess this on a case-by-case basis during the application process. The job title does not have to be an exact match (ie. word for word) although INZ needs to be satisfied that the applicant is employed in one of the occupations on the scarce list & that the employment is genuine. If an applicant qualifies for both the settled and skilled criteria, they should test their eligibility under the settled criteria first.

For applicants holding work visas that specify that they may work for a specific employer, information provided in the 2021 Resident Visa application form and with the previous work visa application will be considered to determine if they meet the scarce criteria. There is no substantial match requirement and whether the applicant’s role fits the job occupation listed on the scarce list will be considered. INZ may request further information like the job description and they may refer to ANZSCO if there are doubts as to whether the applicant’s role fits the job occupation listed on the scarce list

Health & Character FAQs

Medicals are a mandatory requirement and must be submitted with the 2021 Resident Visa application. Please note that the panel physicians in Auckland and Hamilton have resumed immigration medicals.  Applicants have time until 31st July 2022 to lodge their applications.

No, applicants will not be required to submit one unless requested by the immigration officer.

No, a new medical certificate is not required if they were submitted within the last 36 months and was assessed as either ASH or ASH with Conditions.  A Limited Medical Certificate maybe required if the applicant’s health conditions have changed.

Applicants should make it clear to the panel physicians that they are applying for the 2021 Resident Visa.

Unless requested by an Immigration Officer, applicants for the 2021 Resident Visa will not be required to provide a police certificate from their country of citizenship or any country they have lived in for 12 months or more in the past 10 years. However, a New Zealand Police Check is required regardless of the time an applicant has spent in New Zealand. INZ will request this on the applicant’s behalf.

Partners & Dependent Children FAQs

There is a downloadable form that can be submitted with their parents' 2021 Resident Visa application.  There are no separate fees to be paid for the dependent children.

A partner or dependent child cannot be removed from the application if the applicant holds or previously applied for a visa based on their relationship to the principal applicant unless the partner ceases to be the principal applicant’s partner or the child ceases to be dependent.

In cases where the partner or dependent child included in the application has never held or applied for a visa based on the relationship with the principal applicant, they can be removed at any time until the point of decision.

Yes, if they meet the definition of a ‘dependent child’ listed in the immigration instruction R2.1.30. Dependent children aged 21 years and over undertaking employment will need to demonstrate they are totally or substantially reliant on the principal applicant and/or the principal applicant's partner for financial support, whether living with them or not.

General but Important FAQs

Applications will open in 2 phases:

Phase 1: 1 December 2021 onwards for some eligible applicants

Phase 2: 1 March 2021 onwards for the remaining eligible applicants

Occupational registration is necessary only if your job is in the health or education sectors.

The requirement is that you must hold a valid visa at all times. If during the processing of the 2021 Resident Visa, your current visa expires in the next 7 days, then INZ will automatically grant you the 2021 Interim Visa.

For information about the 2021 Interim Visa, please click here.

Applicants will need to apply for the new 2021 Resident Visa & pay the fees. INZ cannot convert existing Residence applications as the new category did not exist when they made the initial application.

Processing time is expected to be within 12 months of lodgment of the application.

As per the advice received from INZ, you must be in New Zealand on 29September 2021 and when you submit the application for this new category of Residence Visa, irrespective of which phase you choose to apply in – 1 December 2021 or 1 March 2022.

However, if you choose to travel and, in the event, you are unable to return to New Zealand you may lose the opportunity for this application.  Please also take into consideration the requirements of Border Restrictions, Border Exemptions and MIQ when undertaking travel outside of New Zealand.

As per the advice received from INZ, if an applicant has two applications under assessment simultaneously with INZ, their new 2021 Residence Visa will be prioritized.

As per the advice received from INZ, the assessments of the on-hand SMC applications will be processed as per the instructions in force at the time of lodgement.  Some applications may be declined if the said instructions are not met.  However, the applicants will still have the right to appeal with IPT and will also be eligible to apply for residence under the new 2021 Residence Visa category.

No, those who are granted the 2021 Resident Visa will still need to apply for permanent residence at an appropriate time, i.e. when they meet the relevant immigration instructions at that point in time.

The applicant must demonstrate that they held an eligible employment on 29th September 2021 and continue to be in the employment that falls under the skilled or scarce criteria on the day they submit their 2021 Resident Visa application.

All employment and offers of employment should be genuine.

Employment must be full time i.e. 30 hours per week and should be distinctly stated in the employment agreement.

Employment for self-employed contractors is also acceptable as long as they can show that they have a consistent history of contract work and that they currently hold a contract for services.

No, there is no condition that the applicant needs to hold a valid job, as long as they meet the settled criteria.

Yes, an applicant can meet any criteria when applying for the 2021 Resident Visa, as long as they are on an eligible visa.  It is not necessary to meet the same criteria when applying for the 2021 Resident Visa as they did on 29th September 2021.

Emails were sent to eligible applicants on 29th October and 17th November 2021. In case an applicant has not received the email, it is recommended that they check their spam/junk folders too.  If they have not received an email, they may still qualify and they can check the eligibility against the criteria on the INZ website.  Everyone applying under Phase One will need their reference no. from their SMC / EOI applications or the application number from their RFW application.

If the applicant has any difficulty in applying, they should contact the ICC in the first instance.

The immigration instructions clearly state that the applicant who has applied under Phase One, when they were required to apply under Phase Two (from 1st March 2022), will be declined.  However, the applicant will be given an opportunity to comment on the potentially prejudicial information.  The form has screening questions that would determine the applicant’s eligibility for Phase One.  Applicants must provide true and correct information at all times.

It will depend on whether the applicant was determined to have intentionally provided false and misleading information to INZ and the outcome of the character waiver.

No, a Phase One applicant can submit their application anytime between 1st December 2021 and 31st July 2022.

The 2021 Resident Visa form and submission is through the Immigration Online platform. A Real Me account is required.

Skilled residence applications will be processed however, more resources will be put on the 2021 Resident Visa.  When the applicant applies for the 2021 Resident Visa, and their SMC or RFW applications are under process, INZ will ask for a confirmation from the applicant regarding which application they would like to have processed first, noting that the 2021 Resident Visa will be a much faster and simpler process.

Where the applicant’s SMC or RFW is under process and a potentially prejudicial letter has already been sent to them, then the following process will follow:  8-november-2021-2021-resident-visa-announcement-interim-processing-guidelines.pdf (immigration.govt.nz)

A person excluded from any country other than New Zealand must declare this in their 2021 Resident Visa application form, irrespective of having previously declared that exclusion and being granted a special direction by INZ or the Minister with regard to that exclusion.

All applicants need to meet character requirements. The immigration officer may request the applicant to provide comments on any known incident of false and misleading information even if the applicant has previously been granted a character waiver with respect to that incident. A character waiver in one application does not ‘carry over’ to the next one as the circumstances of the applicant may have changed.

No waiver will be granted as providing a valid passport when applying for a visa is a requirement.  Applicants have until 31 July 2022 to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa.

INZ has advised that it will be assessed the same way it is currently assessed in the Skilled

Partners and children who are outside New Zealand and granted the 2021 Resident Visa will not need a border exception to travel to New Zealand.

Applications will be allocated in line with the order & manner of processing outlined in instruction A16.

Employment must be full-time in order to meet the skilled or scarce criteria. Employment is full-time if the employment agreement mentions that the employment amounts to, on average, 30 hours per week over an agreed pay period. If an employment agreement is only for part-time work but it mentions 30 hours per week, then an individual will be eligible.

Yes, but the applicant must remain lawful at all times and continue to comply with their visa conditions.

Yes, a secondary applicant may be added when an application is still under process. However, if the partner or dependent child holds or has applied for a visa based on their relationship with the principal applicant, then they must be included at the time of lodgement.

Yes, a secondary applicant of an SMC application can apply in their own right, separate from the principal applicant, and they will still need to meet the requirements in their own right.

No. After you have been granted the 2021 Resident Visa, you will be the holder of a resident visa and will therefore no longer qualify for a Residence from Work visa. As per the law, a person cannot hold more than one visa. The 2021 Resident Visa once issued will override the Work to Residence Visa. It is a requirement under the Residence from Work categories to hold a Work to Residence visa up until a decision is made.

If you have any further queries, please contact Immigration Advisers New Zealand Ltd. at [email protected] or call on +64 9 379 0219. Our experienced team of Licensed Immigration Advisers will be happy to guide you.


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