NEW ZEALAND: New One-Off 2021 Resident Visa Announced
The New Zealand authorities recently introduced a new one-off Resident Visa scheme for eligible temporary and long-term work visa holders. Focusing on current resident foreign nationals whose primary purpose in the country is for work, the 2021 Resident Visa will allow holders to continue working and residing in New Zealand on a permanent basis.
Although further details are expected from the authorities at the end of October, the general application framework, eligibility criteria, and application timetable have been announced.
To qualify for this one-off visa program, applicants must:
- Have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021 – note that some limited exemptions may apply if the applicant has been in Australia and been unable to return to New Zealand by 29 September 2021; and
- Hold an eligible visa, or have applied for an eligible visa, on or before 29 September 2021. If the applicant has only applied for an eligible visa, the visa must be granted for the individual to qualify; and
- Meet at least one of the following three criteria:
- Have lived in New Zealand for three (3) or more years – must have arrived in New Zealand on or before 29 September 2018 and have spent a minimum of 821 days in the country between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021; or
- Earn at least the median wage of NZD $27 per hour; or
- Work in a role on the scarce list – that is, a job included on either the Long Term Skill Shortage, Required Occupational Registration and Health or Education Sector, Personal Carers and Other Critical Health Workers, or Primary Sector (Non-Seasonal) Roles lists.
- Note that additional character and health requirements must also be met, but those will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
A full list of the eligible visas can be found below:
- 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 (six (6) months or longer), and
- Other critical workers for long term roles (more than six (6) months).
- Note that if the individual is on a short-term or seasonal role on a CPVV, they will not be eligible for this visa program.
Finally, it is important to note that partners and dependent children of the principle applicant, including those currently outside of New Zealand, can be included in the application.
Key Dates, Application Process, and Processing Times
The following dates should be kept in mind:
- 29 September 2021 – date on which applicants must have met the eligibility criteria.
- End of October – anticipated timeframe for authorities to confirm additional program details.
- 1 December 2021 – first phase of applications opens. Eligible applicants for this phase are:
- Individuals who have already applied for residence under the Skilled Migrant and Residence from Work categories before 29 September 2021; or
- Individuals who have submitted a Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest (EOI) and who have included at least one dependent child (aged 17 years or older) on the EOI.
Note that individuals who are eligible to apply in this phase will receive an email from Immigration New Zealand with further details.
- 1 March 2022 – second phase of applications opens. All other eligible applicants can apply (including those individuals eligible to apply in phase one).
- 31 July 2022 – acceptance of applications closes.
Applications will be submitted via an online platform. Details are still pending from Immigration New Zealand, but are anticipated by the end of October.
Although full details have yet to be confirmed, the New Zealand authorities anticipate that the majority of applications will be processed within 12 months and many in a much shorter timeframe.
This new one-off visa program is welcome news for current New Zealand temporary residents and their eligible dependents, especially those whose permanent residence plans were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the scheme is also anticipated to help New Zealand address key gaps in the workforce that were exacerbated by the pandemic.
As more details are still to be announced by the New Zealand authorities, it is recommended to begin assessing if this program can benefit any of your current work visa holders. Peregrine and Newland Chase will continue to monitor the situation closely and report on the upcoming pending details from the authorities. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Peregrine dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this program.