2021 Resident Visa: Am I eligible?

Everything you need to know about the 2021 Resident Visa.

Today, the New Zealand Government has announced that approximately 165,000 migrant workers will become eligible for residency through a new visa pathway: the 2021 Resident Visa.

In this article we provide you with everything you need to know about the 2021 Resident Visa. Further information will come once Immigration New Zealand (INZ) releases the policy. We also summarise what these changes will mean for migrant workers and for businesses who employ migrant staff.

What is it?

The 2021 Resident Visa is a new, one-off pathway to residence for migrant workers.

Health and character requirements will still need to be met.

Who will be eligible?

To apply for the 2021 Resident Visa you must:

  • have been in NZ on 29 September 2021; and
  • hold (or have applied for and are subsequently granted) an Eligible Visa.

Eligible Visas include the following:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Post Study Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
  • Religious Worker Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa
  • Trafficking Victim Work Visa
  • Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa
  • Skilled Migrant Category Job Search Work Visa
  • Victims of Family Violence Work Visa
  • South Island Contribution Work Visa
  • Work Visa granted under Section 61 (provided the applicant held another eligible visa type within 6 months of being granted a Section 61 visa)
  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas.

Short-term visas will not be eligible (e.g. visitors, students, working holiday, seasonal workers and short term critical workers).

You must also meet at least ONE of the following requirements:

  • have lived in New Zealand for three or more years; or
  • earn above the median wage ($27 per hour or more); or
  • work in a role on the Long Term Skill Shortage List; or
  • hold occupational registration and work in the health or education sector; or
  • work in personal care or other critical health worker roles; or
  • work in a specified role in the primary industries.

Critical Workers

The criteria is different for the 2021 Resident Visa for the following specific types of critical purpose visa holders:

  • critical health workers for longer term roles (6 months or longer); and
  • other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months).

These critical workers, and their families, can apply for a 2021 Resident Visa as long as they apply and arrive in New Zealand before July 31, 2022.

Can I include my partner and dependent children as a part of my application?

Yes, partners and dependents will be able to be included in applications as long as they meet the minimum requirements.

When can I apply?

Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa will open in two phases:

Phase One:

From 1 December 2021, the following people can apply for the 2021 Resident Visa:

  • people who have already submitted a Skilled Migrant Category or Residence from Work application; and
  • those who currently have an Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest submitted and have included their dependent children 17 years or older.

Phase Two:

From 1 March 2022, all other eligible applicants, including those who have submitted an Expression of Interest under the Skilled Migrant Category can apply.

The deadline for application is 31 July 2022.

Employers: what will this mean for my business?

Employers will be able to retain the staff and skills they need more permanently and easily than before.

Want to know more?

Contact our immigration specialist, Michelle, to get started with the process.

Michelle Chen
021 948 680

IMPORTANT: The information in this article is of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. Tavendale and Partners do not accept any liability for any reliance placed on the information contained in this article and shall not be liable to you or anyone else for doing something, or omitting to do something, on the information provided above.