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Certainty for NZ Migrants: 2021 Resident Visa

We welcome the news today that the Government has announced the ‘2021 Resident Visa’.  This is a one-off visa, simplifying the pathway to residency for approximately 165,000 migrants who are currently in New Zealand.

Providing certainty for migrants and businesses alike, industries including health, aged care, primary industry and teachers will benefit from this announcement.  It is recognised that so many NZ migrants have had their lives disrupted by the consequences of COVID-19 and the border restrictions that have separated families and loved ones.

Businesses will now have the opportunity to retain their settled and skilled migrant workers, reflecting the critical part they play in the growth of the economy, essential workforce and communities.

The new visa is also applicable to those arriving in New Zealand between 30 September 2021 and 31 July 2022 on long-term critical purpose visas (for six months or more) may also be eligible for this new visa. Partners and dependents can be included as part of these residence applications.

Applications will be streamlined to process applications as quickly as possible and will be open in two phases –  1 December 2021 for some eligible applicants, and from 1 March 2022 for remaining eligible applicants.  All applications must be submitted by 31 July 2022.   The majority of applications will be granted within a year of the category opening up.

Eligibility and Criteria

To be eligible to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa, the applicants must have met the following criteria on 29 September 2021:

  • have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021, and
  • be on an eligible visa or have applied for an eligible visa before 29 September 2021 that is later granted.

You must also meet one of the three criteria:

  • have lived in New Zealand for three or more years, or
  • earn at or above the median wage ($27 per hour), or
  • work in a role on a scarce list.

All applicants must be on one of the following visas:

  • Post Study Work Visa
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Religious Worker Work Visa
  • Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List 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 (CPVV):
    • Critical health workers for longer term roles (6 months or longer), and
    • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months).


There is a lot of further detail contained in the announcement of this welcomed visa and in order to understand your eligibility or how it affects your employees, we suggest talking to our expert team who will be able to advise you and answer your questions.

Contact Arno

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