All You Need To Know About The New 2021 Resident Visa

On the 30th of September 2021, the New Zealand government introduced a new one-off resident visa that will provide a residence pathway to migrants who are currently in the country. This new visa offers certainty to migrants and businesses in the face of the current COVID-19 situation. 

This new visa was announced by the Minister of Immigration, Kris Faafoi, as a one-off, uncomplicated residence pathway for about 165,000 migrants who are currently in New Zealand. 

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world through border regulations, extensive lockdowns, various mandates and more. This new one-off visa aims to provide new opportunities for current migrants and their families and ensure certainty for New Zealand businesses.

What Is The New 2021 Resident Visa?

The aim of this new resident visa is to provide a unique opportunity for migrants to gain residency in New Zealand while assisting businesses and the economy as well. This visa will help pave the way towards economic recovery for New Zealand as we recoup from the pandemic and continue onwards towards the future. 

This visa is open to about 165,000 migrants and offers an excellent opportunity to about 9,000 primary industry workers, more than 800 teachers and over 5,000 health care workers. About 80% of the applications are expected to be processed and granted residence within a year of applying so that migrants can settle down and call New Zealand home. 

Along with helping New Zealand’s valued migrants, this visa is also meant to help businesses find and retain suitable employees for their workforce. COVID-19 has put massive pressure on organisations and employees alike, so it is hoped that this visa aids everyone to build a better future. This new visa will be applicable to most migrants who have a work-related visa, including work to residence visas, essential skills visas and post-study work visas. This visa will also help their immediate family members, helping migrants and their families reconnect and move forward from any disruptions caused by the pandemic.

How You Can Apply For The New 2021 Resident Visa?

To apply for this new 2021 resident visa, applicants will need to meet a few requirements to be considered eligible. First, the individual who would like to apply will need to have been present in New Zealand on the 29th of September in 2021. Additionally, they will need to have an eligible visa, or they will need to have applied for one that is later granted. 

Furthermore, the individual will need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The applicant has lived in New Zealand for a total of three or more years. Please note that if the applicant has left New Zealand for a holiday trip or other reasons in the past three years, that does not disqualify them from this requirement. As long as they have spent a minimum of 821 days in New Zealand between the 29th of September 2018 and the 29th of September 2021 they may be still eligible for this new 2021 visa.

  • They earn at least above the median wage or more. The median wage in New Zealand is 27 NZD per working hour.

  • They work in a job that is listed on the Long Term Skill Shortage List. New Zealand’s Long Term Skill Shortage List displays working roles that are in demand in the country. A few of these roles include specific jobs construction, engineering, science, health and social services and more.

  • The individual holds occupational registration and also works in the health or education sector. Health and education are both incredibly vital industries, so workers with these roles are valued.

  • They have a role that involves personal care or other vital health care work. Personal care and essential health care are also crucial to ensuring that New Zealand residents are healthy and cared for.

  • They work in a specified role in New Zealand’s primary industries. Primary industries in New Zealand include agriculture, forestry, horticulture and seafood. The agriculture industry involves dairy, meat and wool production and the seafood industry involves aquaculture and fishing. Additionally, this visa will also be open to migrants who enter New Zealand as critical workers for roles that last for six months or longer until the 31st of July 2022. Their families will also be considered, and visa holding workers can include their dependants and partners in their new visa applications. The application process for this new one-off 2021 resident visa will occur in two stages. Applications can be submitted starting from the 1st of December in 2021 phase 1 (i.e. for particular group of individuals) and phase 2 from the 1st of March in 2022 for any remaining individuals who would like to apply. All applications must be correctly submitted by the 31st of July, 2022. The new 2021 resident visa application process has been simplified and streamlined to go through the applications as quickly as possible. This is to allow migrant individuals, their families and their employers to continue towards a better future as soon as they can. However, applicants will still need to pass police checks and fit specific health criteria before being granted the visa.

Who You Can Speak To About Your Visa Options

If you are interested in applying for this new 2021 visa or are curious about other kinds of visas that may apply to you, our team at Sharma Law is here to help you. We are a team of experienced and skilful immigration lawyers and consultants that specialise in helping people who wish to migrate to New Zealand.

To speak to us about your situation, please visit our contact page or give us a call at +64 07 855 2663. We understand that legal procedures can be challenging to get through on your own, and we are happy to listen to you and assist in any way we can. 

If you are looking to relocate to New Zealand or are currently in the country and need visa services, then our friendly team at Sharma Law is here to help in any way we can.