New Zealand announces one off new resident visa for 165,000 migrants

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What is the New Resident Visa announced by the immigration minister?

On September 30th, 2021, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi introduced a new one-off residence visa pathway that provides certainty to over 165,000 migrants currently in NZ. A new one-off residence pathway means many work visa holders will be able to remain in New Zealand permanently. The 2021 Resident Visa acknowledges the contribution migrants have made to New Zealand during COVID-19 and the uncertainty they’ve faced with closed borders and necessary changes to immigration settings. The new resident visa also allows employers to retain settled, skilled and scarce migrant workers, reflecting their critical part in New Zealand’s economy.

Who is eligible for the New Resident Visa?
To be eligible, the individual must:

  1. Have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021, and
  2. Be on an eligible visa* or have applied for an eligible visa on or before 29 September 2021 that is later granted.
  3. You must also meet one of the three criteria below:
  4. have lived in New Zealand for three or more years, or
  5. earn at or above the median wage ($27 per hour), or
  6. work in a role on a scarce list.

*Eligible Visas
On 29 September all applicants must have been on (or have applied for and later granted) 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 before 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).
Short-term visa holders are not eligible, such as visitors, students, working holiday makers, and seasonal workers like those on the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme or those who enter as short-term critical workers.

When can I apply?

The 2021 resident visa applications will be submitted in 2 phases:

Phase 1: 1 December 2021 – 28 February 2022

  • Individuals who have submitted a Skilled Migrant Category EOI before its closure in March 2020, received an ITA (Invitation to Apply) and applied for residence before 29 September 202
  • Individuals who have submitted a Skilled Migrant Category EOI after March 2020 (did not receive an ITA and hence did not apply for residence), as long as your dependent children aged 17 years or over were included in it

Residence from Work categories submitted before 29 September 2021

Phase 2: 1 March 2022 – 31 July 2022
Everyone else eligible for 2021 Resident Visa but not included in Phase 1, can apply under Phase 2. This includes those Skilled Migrant Category applications sitting in the pool.
All applications must be made by 31 July 2022.

How can I apply?

More information about the application process will be available by the end of October. It’s an online application unlike SMC and Residence from Work which were paper based.

What is the visa processing timeframe?

It will take about 12 months (or faster) to process.

Additional Notes:

Immigration New Zealand is committed to ensuring the application and fee process is as easy as possible for the applicants. This is not a permanent category. It has a window of 8 months within which applications can be submitted.

Source: Immigration New Zealand, 2021