The 2021 Resident Visa

On Thursday the 30th of September, the New Zealand Government announced a new one-off residence pathway, the 2021 Resident Visa.

Our Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser, Dr. Carsten Hallwass welcomes this new pathway to residence:

"We see this as a strong signal from the Government, emphasising the plan to move forward as we continue to follow our strategy for a gradual re-opening of our borders.

The 2021 Resident Visa is a long overdue acknowledgement of the immense contributions to the New Zealand society made by migrants on one hand, and of the huge skill shortage experienced by New Zealand businesses on the other hand.

The 2021 Resident Visa will give migrants the assurance that they can build a new life in New Zealand, as they now have a solid guarantee that they will be able to remain in New Zealand after their work visas expire ... (it) will also allow New Zealand employers to secure the skill sets in their teams as they are now able to retain their staff long-term."

A few facts about the 2021 Resident Visa:

  • 165,000 migrants are potentially eligible for the New 2021 Resident Visa!
  • The New 2021 Resident Visa provides a new one-off residence visa pathway for specific temporary work visa holders currently in New Zealand.
  • Some critical purpose visa holders arriving in New Zealand between 30 September 2021 and 31 July 2022 on long-term visas may also be eligible for this new visa.
  • Partners and dependents can be included as part of these residence applications.
  • Applications will be open in two phases from 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.

Carsten says:"This new pathway provides a unique one-off chance for New Zealand work visa holders who would otherwise not have qualified for a resident visa under any of the current Resident Visa Categories, be it because they were unable to claim enough points for the 160 points EOI threshold, because they have exceeded the age limit of 56 years, or because they do not meet the minimum English language requirements stipulated in the Skilled Migrant Category."


Estimated number of migrants currently in New Zealand and eligible for the New 2021 Resident Visa.

Are you eligible for a 2021 Resident Visa?

Eligibility factors:

To be eligible you must

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

Eligible visas:

On 29 September you 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)

Applicants working in a job on a scarce list

To be eligible under this criteria, on 29 September 2021 you must work in a job that is on a scarce list.

These are the scarce lists:

  • Jobs on the Long Term Skill Shortage List
  • Jobs requiring occupational registration in the health or education sector
  • Personal carer and other critical health workers
  • Specified primary sector jobs

Carsten says:

"If your job is listed in one of the scarce lists, this really is a fantastic chance for you to obtain your residence status if you are currently on a work visa.

This applies in particular if you are working in a profession that is now listed in the specified primary sectors list, as you might not have qualified for a resident visa up until now, depending on remaining on a work visa for an unforeseeable time.

My advice to you: Look up the Scarce Lists to see whether you might qualify for residence!"

Important exemption for Critical Purpose visitor visa holders

The New 2021 Resident Visa also brings great news for Critical Workers!

Two groups of Critical Purpose visitor visa holders will be eligible, as long as they arrive in New Zealand and apply before 31 July 2022:

  • Critical health workers for longer term roles (6 months or longer), and
  • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months).

This is a significant exemption from the eligibility requirement that stipulates that to be eligible for the New 2021 Resident Visa you have to have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021.

Please note: If you are in a short term or seasonal role on a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, including fishing crew, agricultural and horticulture mobile plant operators and shearers, you will not be eligible.

Good news for New Zealand employers:

The New 2021 Resident Visa is great news for New Zealand employers as well as for migrants!

Employers do not have to be accredited to benefit from this new pathway to residence. They can retain their migrant employees beyond the expiry date of their current work visas.

At New Zealand Immigration Concepts we want to build strong relationships with New Zealand employers. If you are a New Zealand employer, you are very welcome to register your interest in any of our webinars.

To learn how you can retain your migrant staff, just complete the form on this page and join our webinar.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Do you want to migrate to New Zealand?

Base your move on solid grounds: Ask us for a Free Assessment and join our Immigration Webinar.

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