New NZ Residence Policy

New 2021 Resident Visa

On 30 September 2021, the New Zealand Government announced a new one-off residence visa that will provide a simplified pathway to residence for approximately 165,000 migrant workers currently in New Zealand. This new visa provides a way forward for migrant workers whose futures in New Zealand have been shrouded by COVID-19. The visa will hopefully give migrants certainty about their future and will reward the sacrifices made to stay in New Zealand during COVID-19 with an offer to settle.

Employers should now feel confident in the future of their businesses. Those businesses employing migrants will be able to rest easy knowing that they will be able to retain their skilled employees with the new 2021 visa, which is eligible to most work visa holders.

Eligible visas

The eligible visas are:

  • 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) as long you arrive in New Zealand and apply before 31 July 2021:
    • Critical health workers for longer term roles (6 months or longer), and
    • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months).
    • If you are in a short term or seasonal role on a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, including fishing crew, agricultural and horticulture mobile plant operators and shearers, you will not be eligible.

All applicants must hold an eligible visa or have applied for an eligible visa before 29 September 2021 that is later granted.


To be eligible for residence you must:

  • have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021, and
  • be on an eligible visa or have applied for an eligible visa before 29 September 2021 that is later granted.

You must also meet one of the three criteria on 29 September 2021:

  1. have lived in New Zealand for three years or more, or
  2. earn at or above the median wage ($27 per hour), or
  3. work in a role on a scarce list.

For applicants who have lived in New Zealand for three years or more, they 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. Therefore, an applicant can have travelled in and out of New Zealand, as long as they spent 821 days in New Zealand over the three-year period.

All applicants must meet the health and character requirements. Overseas police certificates will not be required unless specifically asked for by an Immigration Officer however chest x-rays and medicals may be required if they were not submitted within three years of applying for the 2021 visa.

Those who hold short term visas are not eligible, such as visitors, student and seasonal workers.

Application process and timeframes

The 2021 Resident visa will be open for online applications in two phases, one in December 2021 and the other in March 2022.

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.
  • If you are eligible to apply in December, you will receive an email in late October from Immigration New Zealand with further information.

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

You can expect your application to be processed with 12 months. All Skilled Migrant draws will be paused until 31 July 2022 to make way for the new residence visa.

All applications must be made by 31 July 2022.

The cost of the application is yet to be announced but we estimate it will be $2000- $3000 NZD.


Please email us at if you would like us to assist with this process as your advocates.

The above overview has been provided for general information purposes only.  It is not, nor is it intended to be treated as, legal advice, and is subject to change without notice.

Sahadev Naran                                                                                                30 September 2021