Everything You Need To Know About 

The One-off 2021 Resident Visa

On 30 September 2021, the Government announced a new one-off residence category, the 2021 Resident Visa. This new one-off residence pathway means a large number of work visa holders will be able to remain in New Zealand permanently.

The 2021 Resident Visa recognizes the immense 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 will also allow employers to retain settled, skilled, and scarce migrant workers, reflecting their critical part in New Zealand’s economy.

Partners and dependents can be included as part of these residence applications.

Immigration New Zealand expects that around 165,000 migrants currently in New Zealand will be eligible for residence under this new category.

Walk in Nature

Who is eligible?

The basic requirement to be met is that:

  • you should have been in New Zealand on 29 Sep 2021 on any one of the 'Eligible Visas',

 

or

  • you should have applied for an 'Eligible Visa' on or before 29 Sep 2021 which is later granted.

Once you meet the basic requirement, then, you need to meet one of the three criteria defined by Immigration New Zealand as ‘Settled’, ‘Skilled’ and ‘Scarce’.

'Settled', 'Skilled' & 'Scarce'

To be eligible under the ‘Settled’ criteria, you must:

  • have arrived in New Zealand on or before 29 September 2018, and

  • have spent a minimum of 821 days in New Zealand between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021 (inclusive).

 

If you need to check how much time you have spent in New Zealand, you can request your travel movements from Immigration New Zealand.

 

To be eligible under the ‘Skilled’ criteria, you must be paid the median wage of NZD $27 per hour or above on 29 September 2021.

To be eligible under the ‘Scarce’ criteria, on 29 September 2021 you must have been working in a job that is on a 'Scarce List'. There are four 'Scarce Lists' for this purpose. These are:

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

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Critical Workers

Some critical workers coming to New Zealand for a longer-term (6+ months) role do not need to meet settled, skilled or scarce criteria if they held a Critical Purpose Visa 29 September 2021 or were granted one after that date. 

Nurses 

To be eligible, those granted a Critical Purpose  Visa to obtain occupational registration as a nurse in New Zealand must: 

  • pass their Competence Assessment Programme and secure occupational registration, or 

have transitioned to an eligible work visa before or on 29 September 2021 and meet either settled, skilled or scarce requirements.

Eligible 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).

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Application Process

The 2021 Resident visa will be open for applications in two phases, with the first group of people able to apply from 1 December 2021.

Phase 1

From 1 December 2021 you can apply if:

  • you have already applied for residence under the Skilled Migrant and Residence from Work categories before 29 September 2021, or

​​

  • you have submitted a Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest, and have included your dependent child in the Expression of Interest aged 17 years or older on 29 September 2021.

Phase 2

From 1 March 2022, all other eligible applicants can apply, including all others who have submitted a Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest.

The last date to submit these applications is 31 July 2022.

It is expected the majority of applications will be processed within 12 months, with most being processed much faster.

First Phase Applicant Requirements

Dates 

To be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa, first phase applicants will need to meet criteria on two dates: 

  • 29 September 2021, which is the day before the announcement of the 2021 Resident Visa, and

  • the date they submit their application.   

 

The principal applicant is the temporary work visa holder applying for the 2021 Resident Visa. Secondary applicants are any partners or dependants included in the application.

 

Principal applicants can meet the skilled criteria on one date and the scarce criteria on another and still be eligible. 

Location 

 

Principal applicants must have been in New Zealand or Australia on 29 September 2021, or subsequently granted an eligible Critical Purpose visa. Those in Australia must have left New Zealand between 6 April 2021 and 23 July 2021 (inclusive). All applicants must be in New Zealand to apply. 

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Family

Partners and dependent children in New Zealand and overseas can be included in applications as secondary applicants. 

Dependent children 25+ 

Dependent children aged 25 and over that were included in a skilled residence or Expression of Interest (EOI) on or before 29 September cannot be included as a dependent child in a 2021 Resident Visa application. However, they can submit their own application as an attached document when they submit their online 2021 Resident Visa application. No additional fee will be charged for the child. 

 

They can be granted their own 2021 Resident visa if: 

  • they meet standard health and character requirements, and  

  • a parent is granted a 2021 Resident Visa.   

 

Dependent children overseas who are granted a 2021 Resident Visa are exempt from our border restrictions and may travel to New Zealand. 

Partnership  

To approve a 2021 Resident Visa for a partner, INZ must be satisfied that the couple have lived together in a genuine and stable relationship for 12 months or more during their relationship. 

INZ will consider the relationship history of couples separated by COVID-19 border restrictions or other factors when assessing applications for partners. 

A partner will not be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa if they have not met or lived with the principal applicant. 

Current resident visa requirements apply.

Cost

Cost: INZ Fee

 

The total cost of the 2021 Resident Visa is NZD$2,160 including GST.  

 

This includes a NZD$1,330 application fee and NZD$830 immigration levy.  

 

Applicants will not need to pay another fee when they apply for a 2021 Resident Visa.  

 

However, once an in-principle decision has been made on the 2021 Resident Visa application, the application fee will need to be paid.  

 

At this point, for those who choose to withdraw their SMC application, the fee from that application will be used to cover the cost of the 2021 Resident Visa and the difference will be refunded.  

 

As the RfW and SMC EOI application fees are less than the 2021 Resident Visa application, these applicants who choose to withdraw their earlier application will need to pay the difference in the fees before an application is finalised.

 

Those who choose not to withdraw their earlier applications will need to pay the NZD$1330 application fee for the 2021 Resident Visa. This is to cover the cost of processing both applications.  

Those who have paid a levy will not need to pay it again. 

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2021 Interim Visa

INZ will grant interim visas of up to 12 months to 2021 Resident Visa applicants awaiting a decision to ensure they remain lawful while their applications are processed.

 

Once a 2021 Interim Visa starts, its duration depends on the outcome of the 2021 Resident Visa application, as below.

 

If the application for 2021 Resident Visa is approved within 12 calendar months of the 2021 Interim Visa’s start date, the 2021 Interim Visa would be cancelled on the start date of the further visa.

 

If the application for 2021 Resident Visa is declined within 12 calendar months of the 2021 Interim Visa’s start date, the 2021 Interim Visa would expire 2 calendar months after the date the 2021 Resident Visa is declined.

 

If the application for 2021 Resident Visa is withdrawn within 12 calendar months of the 2021 Interim Visa’s start date, the 2021 Interim Visa would expire 2 calendar months after the date the application for a further temporary visa is withdrawn.

 

If the application for 2021 Resident Visa is still under consideration 12 calendar months after the 2021 Interim Visa’s start date, the 2021 Interim Visa would expire 12 calendar months from the 2021 Interim Visa’s start date.

 

If the 2021 Resident Visa application is declined or withdrawn before the applicant’s current temporary visa expires, the 2021 Interim Visa will expire the day the 2021 Resident Visa application is declined or withdrawn.

 

If the 2021 Resident Visa application is approved before the applicant’s current temporary visa expires, the 2021 Interim Visa will be cancelled on the start date of the 2021 Resident Visa.

 

Key points to note:

  • The 2021 Interim Visa will have the same rights as the applicant’s current temporary visa.

  • There would be no travel conditions applied to the 2021 interim visa.

  • Applicants on Employer Specific work visas like Essential Skills Work Visa holders would not be able to change their conditions of work, including their employer when they are on the 2021 Interim Visa.

  • Work to Residence visa holders whose visa may be expiring while their 2021 Resident Visa application is being processed and have a pathway to Residence from Work, need to consider being on the 2021 Interim Visa, as their 2021 Interim Visa would not allow them to apply for a Residence from Work application, when they become eligible; and they cannot renew a further Work to Residence Visa in the future as well.

FAQs - 3

How will INZ be assessing scarce occupations?

 

This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis for each applicant in line with the immigration instructions. The scarce lists are broad and include a range of skill levels, which will make the assessments simpler in the majority of cases. If an applicant holds a work visa that specifies an employer and occupation, the information provided with the previous work visa application will be considered along with the employment agreement or letter from the employer that is provided with the 2021 Resident Visa application. A job description or other evidence may be requested if needed and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

 

If an applicant’s job title is not on the scarce list but they are undertaking duties associated with an occupation on the list, are they still eligible?

 

This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis for each applicant during the application process. The job title doesn’t need to be an exact match (word for word), although INZ does need to be satisfied that the person is employed in one of the occupations on the scarce lists as well as the employment being genuine.

 

If an applicant qualifies under both the scarce and settled criteria, they should test their eligibility under the settled criteria first.

 

If someone who previously provided fake documents/certificates had been granted an amnesty for an Essential Skills Work Visa, will they be required to disclose this when applying for the 2021 Residence Visa?

All applicants need to meet character requirements. As part of processing the application, an immigration officer may request the applicant to comment on any known incident of false and misleading information even if the applicant has previously been granted a character waiver with respect to that incident.

 

A character waiver in one application does not ‘carry over’ to the next one. This is because the circumstances of the applicant may have changed.

 

Is there a limit on how many applications an adviser can submit on one day?

 

Yes. 15 IGMS applications per day for each Realme account

 

If an applicant's passport has expired and they can’t apply for a new one because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, will a document waiver be granted?

 

No. Applicants are required to provide details of a valid passport when they apply. Applicants have until 31 July 2022 to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa.

 

Do applicants need to upload passports (and/or passport photos) and birth certificates with their application?

 

Yes. Standard online lodgement requirements apply (passport, medical, head and shoulders photograph etc), with the exception of offshore police certificates. As the application is online, copies of documents do not need to be certified.

 

How will 'consistent history of contract work' be defined/assessed?

 

It will be assessed the same way it is currently assessed in the Skilled Migrant Category. SM6.30.10 refers.

 

Will an immigration officer's previous assessment of an applicant's occupation on ANZSCO impact whether their occupation is considered to be a role on the scarce list?

 

For an applicant who holds a current work visa that specifies they may only work for a specific employer, immigration officers will consider information provided on the 2021 Resident Visa

Application form and information provided with the previous work visa application to determine whether they meet the scarce criteria.

 

There is no substantial match requirement and immigration officers will be looking at whether the applicant’s role fits the job occupation listed on the scarce list. If there are doubts as to whether a person is working in an occupation on one of the scarce lists, the immigration officer may request further information such as a job description and in some cases may refer to ANZSCO if needed.

 

If a person is granted a special direction authorising the grant of a visa and entry permission, will they be required to declare in their 2021 Resident Visa application that they have been previously excluded?

 

A person excluded from any country other than New Zealand must declare this in their application form, even if they have previously declared that exclusion and have been granted a special direction by INZ or the Minister with regard to that exclusion.

 

Will there be a border exception for offshore partners allowing them to travel to NZ if they are granted a 2021 Resident Visa?

 

People who have been granted a 2021 Resident Visa can travel to New Zealand, this includes partners and children of the principal applicant who are outside of New Zealand when the visa is issued. They will not need a border exception.

 

If a secondary applicant fails to meet the health requirements, will INZ be able to grant the 2021 Resident Visa to the principal applicant and other secondary applicants?

 

An applicant cannot remove their partner or dependent child from the application if they hold or have [previously] applied for a visa based on their relationship to the principal applicant, unless the partner ceases to be the principal applicant’s partner or the child ceases to be dependent.

 

Where a partner or dependent child has been included and they have never held or applied for a visa based on a relationship to the principal applicant, they can be removed at any time up until the point of decision.

 

Will dependent children aged 17 years or older who were included in an SMC application and now hold an Essential Skills Work Visa be able to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa?

 

Yes, if they meet the definition of a 'dependent child' contained at immigration instruction R2.1.30. Dependent children aged 21 years and over undertaking employment will need to demonstrate they are totally or substantially reliant on the principal applicant and/or the principal applicant's partner for financial support, whether living with them or not.

 

Can a partner who was declared but not included in an SMC application be included as a secondary applicant within a phase 1 application?

 

Yes.

 

Will offshore secondary applicants’ original passports need to be submitted to INZ?

 

Standard processes will apply. INZ will request that offshore applicants send the original passport to the nearest Visa Application Centre.

 

Will applicants be required to submit partner and dependent child declaration forms?

 

Partners and dependent children (aged 24 or younger) can be included in the residence application. In addition to completing the application form, the principal applicant will need to upload the INZ 1242 form if they are including their partner and any dependent children aged 18 - 24 years old.

 

A separate application form is not required unless the dependent child is eligible and is aged 25 or older.

 

Can part-time employees who work more than 30 hours per week meet the skilled or scarce requirements?

 

To meet the skilled or scarce criteria, employment must be full-time. Employment is full-time if the employment agreement demonstrates that the employment amounts to, on average, 30 hours per week over an agreed pay period (S6.15.5.c.i). If an employment agreement is only for part-time work (but states 30 hours per week), an individual will be eligible.

 

Once an applicant has submitted their application under the skilled or scarce criteria, can they leave their employment?

Yes, but they must remain lawful. Applicants should continue to comply with their visa conditions.

 

If an application is declined because the applicant submitted their application in the wrong phase, will they still be required to pay the processing fee?

 

Yes.

 

Can secondary applicants be added after an application has been accepted by INZ?

 

Yes, a secondary applicant may be added during processing.

 

Does an applicant need to submit a passport for their new-born baby to be able to submit their application?

 

Yes, passport details are required for all applicants.

 

Can an applicant supply a NZ police certificate with their application for faster processing?

 

INZ will request a NZ police certificate therefore we do not require applicants to provide these.

 

Will a secondary applicant in a SMC application be eligible to apply under phase one if they left the principal applicant partner due to domestic violence?

 

Yes, a secondary applicant of an SMC application would be able to apply in their own right, separate to the principal applicant, and they will still need to meet the requirements in their own right. They should call ICC if they experience issues trying to submit an application.

 

If a partner from overseas is included in the application, does the Principal Applicant still need to provide police certificates from countries they have been, in line with requirements as a supporting partner for residence applications?

 

Applicants for a 2021 Resident Visa will not be required to provide a police certificate from their country of citizenship or any country they have lived in for 12 months or more in the last ten years, unless requested by an immigration officer. A New Zealand Police Check is still required, regardless of the duration an applicant has spent in New Zealand, and INZ will request this on the applicant’s behalf.

 

What is the easiest way to check if I meet the settled criteria (e.g., 821 days spent in New Zealand between 29 September 2018 – 29 September 2021)?

 

The fastest way to find out the total number of days spent in New Zealand over this period is to phone the Immigration Contact Centre.

 

If an applicant require a copy of information held by INZ to support their 2021 Resident Visa application, can they make a privacy request for this information?

 

Yes, but please consider refining your request to avoid potential delays in receiving the information. The Privacy Team within INZ is experiencing a high number of requests for all immigration records held on a singular applicant and this is causing delays.

 

Why is an applicant asked for employment information if they are applying under the settled criteria?

 

This information is used for statistical purposes.

 

Why are some people being asked to provide additional information such as a completed INZ 1200, CV, list of work experience and qualifications?

 

This information will be requested post-submission and all depends on the individual’s circumstances. INZ will only request information that is absolutely necessary as part of the online form. INZ cannot publicly disclose the triggering criteria which prompts a request for this information.

 

If an applicant granted a residence visa under the 2021 Resident Visa category, can their on hand Residence from Work application for a permanent residence visa continue to be assessed and approved?

 

No. After a 2021 Resident Visa has been granted, the applicant will be the holder of a residence visa and therefore no longer qualify under the Residence from Work categories. 

By law, individuals cannot hold more than one visa and the new resident visa would override the Work to Residence visa once granted. It is a requirement under the Residence from Work categories to hold a Work to Residence visa up until a decision is made

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FAQs - 2

What is the volume of applications INZ is expecting in Phase 1?

INZ is expecting about 15,000 applications in Phase 1.

For qualifying under the “Settled” criteria, is it ok if I meet all the requirements but entered New Zealand on a Student Visa?

Yes. It does not matter which visa you have entered New Zealand on. If you meet all the other requirements, you will qualify even if you entered New Zealand on a Student or a Visitor Visa.

To qualify under the “Settled” criteria, is it necessary to have spent 821 days in New Zealand consecutively?

To qualify under the “Settled” criteria, applicants need to have been in New Zealand for at least 75% of their time between 29 Sep 2018 and 29 Sep 2021. This amounts to 821 days in New Zealand. These 821 days do not have to be spent consecutively. There's also no minimum amount of days within a calendar year that should have been spent.

Can I apply even if I was not in NZ on 29 Sep 2021?

The only people who can apply for the 2021 Resident Visa, even if they were not in New Zealand on 29 Sep 2021 are, those who are on a Critical Purpose Visa – as a Critical Health Worker or Other Critical Worker. However, these people must arrive in NZ and apply for the 2021 Resident Visa before 31 July 2022.

How will remuneration be calculated under the “Skilled” criteria?

Remuneration will be calculated the same way as it is calculated now under the Skilled Migrant and the Essential Skills Work Visa categories.

Can self-employed contractors be eligible under the “Skilled” criteria?

Self-employed contractors may be eligible if they've got a consistent history of contract work and have a current contract. The employment must be genuine, and it must be full time and the employment agreement must show that they work an average of 30 hours per week over an agreed pay period.

What about a casual contract?

For a casual contract, INZ would be looking at the employment agreement. If there is no mention of hours on it, it is unlikely to meet the requirements. However, INZ may also be looking at other documents such as IRD statements, payslips or bank statements. An employer could also provide a letter confirming the average hours worked each week.

Can dependent children aged 25 or above apply at the same time as their eligible parent?

Dependent children aged 25 or above who meet all the requirements for being a dependent child except age, can make their application at the same time as their eligible parents.

Where would these applications be lodged and assessed?

These applications would be accepted and lodged by NADO. The three processing offices for the 2021 Resident Visa are Hamilton, Christchurch, and Manukau.

Can secondary applicants of an on-hand Skilled Migrant Category/Residence from Work application apply under Phase 1 if they are eligible in their own right for the 2021 Resident Visa?

Yes, secondary applicants included in a Skilled Migrant Category/Residence from Work application or a Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest may qualify as a Phase 1 applicant, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

 

What if I meet the “Skilled” criteria on 29 Sep 2021 and then my circumstances change?

Applicants must meet one of the three criteria on 29 Sep 2021 and at the time that they apply. So, a person can meet the “Skilled” criteria on 29 Sep, but if his circumstances change such that he loses his current job, but finds employment in a “Scarce” role, then he would still be able to qualify as he would be meeting the “Scarce” criteria at the time he applies.

Do Critical Purpose Visa holders also need to meet the “Settled”, “Skilled” or “Scarce” criteria?

The Critical Purpose Visa holders who would qualify for the 2021 Resident Visa are those who have longer-term roles, and they must have been granted entry to New Zealand for six months or more as a Critical Health Worker or an Other Critical Worker. They do not need to meet the “Settled”, “Skilled” or “Scarce” criteria, if they held a Critical Health Worker or other Critical Worker Visa on 29 Sep 2021, or they were granted a visa as a Critical Health Worker or Other Critical Worker after 29 Sep 2021. They, however, have to be in New Zealand to apply, and they must apply before 31 July 2022.

 

Only Critical Purpose Visa holders who have obtained a different type of eligible visa on or before 29 Sep 2021 will need to meet one of the requirements - "Skilled" or "Scarce".

 

Is it better to apply for Phase 1 and Phase 2 on their launch dates itself?

 

Immigration New Zealand does not want everybody applying in the first hour of the first day. INZ has further advised that the turnaround time for these applications will be quite quick. The applications for this visa close on 31 July 2022. There is adequate time to apply so no need to rush.

 

Can I apply for the 2021 resident visa and while it's being assessed depart New Zealand?

If a person chooses to leave New Zealand after they've submitted their application, Immigration New Zealand cannot approve it until the applicant has returned to New Zealand. It's also important that the applicant considers the current border restrictions, which may or may not prevent re-entry to New Zealand, along with the MIQ formalities.

There are many people who are eligible to apply under Phase 1 but have not received an email from INZ. Can they still apply?

Yes, if they are eligible to apply under Phase 1, these people can still apply even if INZ has not sent them an email yet. Many such applicants would be receiving an email soon.

How would National Security Checks (NSC) be provided?

 

There is no change in this. NSCs are initiated by Immigration New Zealand and they would send the necessary forms for these to such applicants when their application is being assessed.

 

What if my last visa was approved as ‘ASH’ – acceptable standard of health with conditions and my medicals are within 36 months? Do I still need to provide the Limited Medical Certificate?

 

If this is the case, and/or any other situation wherein a person’s health has changed, the Limited Medical Certificate may be needed.

 

Can I include my partner who is currently offshore in my application?

 

Yes, normal partnership requirements for residence will apply. Applicants must be living in a genuine and stable relationship for 12 months. Where the partner and the applicant are not currently living together, there are existing provisions and instructions where INZ can consider the reasons for separation which could include COVID reasons due to border restrictions. INZ will weigh and balance the evidence of the relationship, how the relationship has been maintained and how long they had lived together prior to the separation. If INZ feels that the relationship is genuine and stable but the living together requirements are not being met, they may defer the decision on the application till the condition is met.

 

During the processing of my 2021 resident visa application, am I required to apply for a new work visa? Will this affect my eligibility?

 

Applicants need to be on a valid temporary visa in order for INZ to process and decide your resident application. This means that applicants need to ensure that they have got a temporary visa for an extended period of time. However, there is no requirement for them to hold an eligible visa during the assessment of their 2021 Resident Visa.

FAQs - 1

Is there an age limit?
No, there is no age limit.
 

If I applied for an eligible work visa but it has not been granted yet, can I submit my residence application?
Once the work visa is granted, yes. People who had an application lodged for an eligible visa on or before 29/09/2021 may be able to apply for the one- off resident visa if the work visa is granted. This means it will need to be approved before 31/07/2022 to have time to submit the residence application.
 

I held an eligible work visa on 29/09/2021 but I had just been made redundant from my job. I hadn't found a new job yet and hadn't applied for a VoC/new WV. Am I eligible?
You need to be on an eligible visa and meet one of the three eligibility criteria at the time of applying for the 2021 Residence Visa as well to be eligible.​
 

I had an eligible visa and met requirements on 29/09/2021, but what if my circumstances change (change to lower pay or non-scarce role, or no WV, etc). Am I eligible?
As we understand, you need to have met the ‘settled’, ‘scarce’, or skilled criteria on 29 Sep 2021 and should meet one of these criteria at the time of applying for the 2021 Resident Visa as well to be eligible. We will have to wait for the immigration instructions to be released to be able to confirm this.
 

How does eligibility work if my visa was granted under section - 61?
Clients may be eligible if they hold a Work Visa granted under Section 61, provided the applicant held another eligible visa type within 6 months of being granted a Section 61 visa. Effectively, the client must have held an eligible visa at some point in the 6 months prior to being granted a visa under s61.
 

I held an eligible visa then was granted a VV under section-61 - am I eligible?
If you held a Visitor Visa issued under section-61 on 29 September 2021, you will not be eligible. Only some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas are eligible. These visas will not be granted to onshore clients. This means that no section-61 Visitor Visa types will be eligible. For clarity, Student Visas granted under s61 are also not eligible.
 

I had a section-61 request in process on 29/09/2021. If this is granted as a Work Visa, am I eligible?
Possibly, we can discuss this on a case-to-case basis.

What if my pay rate was temporarily less than the median wage due to the level 4 lockdown? Will I still be eligible?
INZ recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic and current Alert Level changes may have impacted some applicants’ earnings and will take a pragmatic approach to any short-term fluctuations in pay as a result.
 

Do I need to have held an eligible Work Visa for the full 3 years?
No. There is no specification for any type of visa being held during this time. Provided the client has been in NZ long enough and holds or has applied for an eligible visa (as of 29/09/2021), they may be eligible.
 

What if I was unlawful at some point during the 3 years?
This is okay. Again, provided the client has been in NZ long enough and holds or has applied for an eligible visa (as at 29/09/2021), they may be eligible.
 

What if I came to NZ for a visit years ago, then moved here after 29/09/2018?
You may be eligible, however, we need to wait for the final instructions to be sure.
 

What if I moved to NZ shortly after 29/09/2018 and had not been here before?
You may not be eligible under the 'settled' criteria. Please check if you meet skilled or scarce criteria.
 

Do I need to meet LTSSL requirements to be eligible?
No, you will need to provide evidence of occupational registration in New Zealand (if applicable) along with your employment agreement. 
 

What about students with full-time work rights?
No. Masters and PhD students are also not eligible for this residence pathway, despite having work rights, unless they have applied for an eligible visa before the date of the announcement (eg PSWV).
 

When the median wage increases in Feb 2022, will the new or old median wage apply?
Eligibility is calculated at the date before announcement, when the median wage was $27 per hour. Even if the median wage increases afterwards, this will not affect the client's eligibility.
 

Can I apply if I am currently overseas?
You cannot submit the application while overseas. However, holders of critical purpose visas can travel into New Zealand and submit the application once here. Clients in Australia may also need to travel to NZ to be able to apply.
 

​​I have an eligible New Zealand visa but I am currently stuck in Australia – can I apply?
Principal applicants must have been in New Zealand or Australia on 29 September 2021, or subsequently granted an eligible Critical Purpose Visa. Those in Australia must have left New Zealand between 06 April 2021 and 23 July 2021. 

What if I have not lived with my partner for 12 months yet?
You can include them in your application, however, INZ may not grant them the visa until you have lived together for 12 months.
 

What if my dependent child turns 17 after the announcement is made?
Then you are phase 2. Dependent children must be 17 or older on the day before the announcement is made in order to meet that criteria to apply in phase 1.
 

What if I sent my residence application in on paper but it was not lodged yet?
If the application was sent before the announcement then you may still be phase 1, even if it has not been lodged yet.
 

​​My SMC/RfW application has been allocated, should I apply for the new visa?
This decision is yours to make. SMC and RfW applications will continue to be processed, however the processing of these applications is more complex and therefore may take longer to process.
 

What about dependents who have aged out, are they eligible for this one-off pathway?
Dependents included in the existing residence application or EOI who are now over 24 years old can be included in the new one-off application. These dependents still need to meet the definition of a dependent child, except for the age requirement.
 

Will people still be able to apply through SMC? Will it still exist?
Yes, this one-off residence pathway does not replace the Skilled Migrant Category. The Government remains committed to reopening selections of Expressions of Interest for the Skilled Migrant Category. However, Immigration New Zealand will be prioritizing the processing of applications under the one-off residence pathway to ensure most of them are processed within a year. To do this, the EOI selections will remain suspended until after applications for this pathway close on 31 July 2022. Once applications for the one-off residence visa close on 31 July 2022, individuals will need to apply for residence through the normal pathways and meet the relevant criteria.
 

Will my application go to the back of the queue if I withdraw it from the SMC residence queue and apply under this new pathway?
Applications for the one-off residence visa will be processed in date order, but because the process is more streamlined than under the SMC applications will be decided more quickly. People who have already submitted an SMC or RfW application will be able to start applying for the one-off resident visa from 1 December 2021 while others will have to wait until 1 March 2022. This reflects the fact that individuals with skilled residence applications have already been waiting for their application to be assessed.

Image by Simone Secci