On 30 September 2021, Immigration New Zealand introduced a one-off 2021 Resident Visa as a response to the changed immigration circumstances in New Zealand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This resident visa is intended for temporary visa holders who held one of the eligible temporary visa on 29 September 2021 and were present in New Zealand (or in some circumstances were in Australia) and their partners and dependent children including those currently outside of New Zealand.
During the week of 15-19 November 2021 it is expected Immigration New Zealand ("INZ") will publish immigration instructions for the 2021 Resident Visa.
It is relatively easy to assess one's eligibility for the resident visa, but if you are unsure we can assist with the assessment.
A primary criteria is the same for all potential applicants - on 29 September 2021 you must have held one of the eligible temporary visas or you have had submitted an application for one of the eligible visas with INZ and the visa was later granted to you. (There is an exemption for critical health workers and other critical workers who either held their critical purpose visa on 29 September 2021, or they were granted such visa later and arrive to New Zealand before 31 July 2022. In both cases they must be engaged in a critical role for more than six months.)
If the above applies to you, then (unless you are a critical worker) you also have to meet ONE of the following three criteria – settled OR skilled OR scarce:
(a) Settled - You arrived to 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.
(b) Skilled - You earned at least $27.00 per hour on 29 September 2021 and you will earn at least $27.00 on the date of submitting the resident visa application. By the time you are submitting your resident visa application, you can be on a different eligible visa and you can be in a different job.
(c) Scarce - Your occupation must be on one of the four scarce lists (and you hold a valid registration if this is required for your occupation).
Most applicants will be able to submit their application from 1 March 2022. If that is your case, please note that INZ will not invite you to apply. INZ will only send invitations to the few who qualify to submit their applications from 1 December 2021.
The expected processing time is within 12 months (but there is no guarantee). The processing should be a fairly straightforward task for the immigration officers, but it is expected that around 165,000 people will be eligible.
All principal applicants must be in New Zealand when they submit the application for the resident visa and are primarily expected to remain in New Zealand until the visa is granted. Applications of those who leave New Zealand will not be processed until they return to New Zealand while still holding one of the eligible visa. In case of border restrictions in place, the submitted application will not give the applicant any right to return to New Zealand.
Change of Circumstances
Your visa and circumstances may change between 29 September 2021 and the date when you submit the resident visa application (the last available date is 31 July 2022). Some examples:
(a) If you were eligible as "settled" on 29 September 2021, you need to hold either the same or a different eligible temporary visa on the date you are submitting the resident visa application.
(b) If you were eligible as "skilled" on 29 September 2021 you have to hold either the same or a different eligible temporary visa and be paid at least $27.00 per hour or work in a scarce occupation on the date you are submitting the resident visa application.
(b) If you were eligible as "scarce" on 29 September 2021 you have to hold either the same or a different eligible temporary visa and still be in scarce occupation or be paid $27.00 per hour on the date you are submitting the resident visa application.
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Written by Anet Tarabova
© McVeagh Fleming 2021
This article is published for general information purposes only. Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.