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FAQs - The New 2021 Resident Visa

When are the changes happening?

The first stage of applicants will be able to apply from 01/12/2021. The second stage applicant will be able to apply from 01/03/2022.

When are clients being contacted?

Stage one clients will be proactively contacted by mid/late October.

What is the application fee?

INZ is still working through the cost of the application. You can expect to have more detail on that by the end of October.

The application fee is likely to fall somewhere between the current fees for an SMC visa and a RFW visa. So, for people who have already paid for a residence visa application some will be eligible to a refund of the difference and others will have to pay more.

Can I withdraw and get a refund for my SMC EOI/other application fee?

INZ will provide more information for people in this situation when they write to them ahead of the application process opening.

We recommend you only seek a refund and withdrawal of your skilled residence application or SMC EOI after you have been approved a 2021 Resident Visa.

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.

How does eligibility work if my visa was granted under s61?

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.

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 WV 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 at 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.

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.

What will happen with nurses who still need to complete their CAP?

Clients who were granted a CPVV based on completing their CAP and gaining occupational registration can apply for the one-off residence pathway in order to meet the 31/07/2022 cut-off date.

They may not be approved until they have completed their CAP and gained occupational registration.

I have an eligible New Zealand visa but I am currently stuck in Australia – can I apply?

If you normally reside in New Zealand and were only in Australia for a short visit while quarantine-free travel was in place, and you have been unable to return due to the suspension of quarantine-free travel, you are able to apply under the one-off residence pathway.

I hold an eligible visa but have not yet managed to enter New Zealand – can I apply?

If you have been granted a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa for a period longer than 6 months (or for 6+ months as a critical health worker), and you arrive in New Zealand before 31 July 2022, you are eligible to apply even if you are not in New Zealand at the time of the announcement.

All other eligible visa holders must have been in New Zealand on 29/09/2021.

What about my partner and dependents?

Partners and dependent children can be included in the principal applicant's application, including if they are overseas. However, usual residence partnership requirements would apply – that is, INZ would need to be satisfied that the couple are in a genuine and stable relationship and that they have lived together for 12 months. This is consistent with current partnership visa settings.

INZ will take a pragmatic approach to applying partnership requirements, recognising that partners may be separated for genuine reasons, like the border closure, and not be currently living together as a result. In these instances, INZ will consider the longer history of the relationship. Any family members who are granted a 2021 Resident Visa will still need to secure a spot in MIQ before they are able to come to New Zealand.

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.

Dependent children aged 25 and over

Dependent children aged 25 may also be eligible for a resident visa if they were included in a Residence From Work or SMC application, or an SMC EOI.

They need to have met the criteria for dependent child when the EOI/application was submitted, and they need to continue meeting the criteria except for the age requirement.

The child will need to submit their own application of which they will be the principal applicant.

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.

SMC/RFW applications already in progress - first stage applicants

Clients who already have a residence application in progress under Skilled Migrant or Residence from Work are encouraged to apply for the one-off residence application.

Those with applications already lodged are stage one applicants and can apply for the new pathway from 01/12/2021.

Those with a SMC EOI in the pool who have a dependent child aged 17 or over are also able to apply from 01/12/2e021.

Will I have to pay a second fee?

Only one fee will need to be paid. Details are still being worked out, but those who have already applied are unlikely to have to submit another fee upfront.

Instead, the fee they have already paid will go towards the new application. This may mean either a refund, or a small payment for whatever amount is not covered.

My SMC/RfW application has been allocated, should I apply for the new visa?

This decision is the client's to make. SMC and RfW applications will continue to be processed, however the processing of these applications is more complex than the new one-off residence pathway 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.

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