Newsflash: Residence Visa – One-Off Residence Pathway for 2021

 In Coronavirus, immigration, immigration issues, opinion, Studying in NZ

30 September 2021

For those who have not picked their phones today the Minister for Immigration Kris Faafoi has announced a new category of Residence Visa.


This is a one-off Residence Visa for 2021.

It is expected that around 165,000 migrants may now be provided with a pathway to Residence and ultimately to New Zealand citizenship.


Who can apply?


Applicants for the Special Residence visa need to meet the following Criteria.


It is available to holders of the following visas

  1. Post Study Work Visa
  2. Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  3. Essential Skills Work Visa
  4. Religious Worker Work Visa
  5. Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
  6. Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  7. Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa
  8. Trafficking Victim Work Visa
  9. Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa
  10. Skilled Migrant Category Job Search Work Visa
  11. Victims of Family Violence Work Visa
  12. South Island Contribution Work Visa
  13. Work Visa granted under Section 61 (provided the applicant held another eligible visa type within 6 months before being granted a Section 61 visa)
  14. Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV)

What is the criteria?

Applicants must meet one of the following criteria on 29 September 2021.


  • lived in New Zealand for three or more years, or
  • earn above the median wage ($27 per hour or more), or
  • work in a role on the Long Term Skill Shortage List, or
  • hold occupational registration and work in the health or education sector, or
  • work in personal care or other critical health worker roles, or
  • work in a specified role in the primary industries.


Applicants for this visa must also meet the standard health and police checks. This means you must meet health and character guidelines.


Applicants must also be in New Zealand when they apply.


When can I apply?


Eligible people will be sent their application packs in October.


On 01 December 2021 – The first group of people who can apply are those who have already applied for Residence under Skilled Migrant Category (two) or those who  have applied for Residence from Work (Long Term Skills Shortage, Accredited Employer).


On 01 March 2022 – all other people who are eligible can apply. Including all who have submitted an expression of interest.


How long will it take?


It is expected the majority of applications for Residence will be processed within 12 months.


What will this mean?


After approximately 18 months – migrants to New Zealand will now have a clear pathway to Residence. In recent months Idesi Legal has written on this subject and our Principal Lawyer, Kamil Lakshman has been on national radio to call for this.


It is welcome news and provides an incentive and reward to those who have helped New Zealand through the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also welcome news for those who don’t usually have a pathway to Residence such as those working in New Zealand’s primary industries.  


The question also needs to be asked – what happens to those who have been declined Residence under Skilled Migrant Category in the last twelve months? Will they be eligible to be processed along with the 01 December 2021 cohort?  


Another question which needs to be asked is about fees. Will those who have an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and have submitted their application be given a refund or a fee-waiver on the new Residence Application?

We hope to provide more concrete details in the near future.


Will I still need a work visa?


Until your Residence Visa is approved you will need to be on a valid temporary visa including a work visa. If you do not have a valid visa while you are in NZ any application for Residency will be suspended.


Am I guaranteed residence?


Despite the news today. Obtaining residence is never easy. Even the slightest past misstep can affect a Residence Visa application outcome.


Immigration New Zealand will do a full assessment of whether you meet the above criteria and if you meet health and character requirements under Residency Instructions.


We highly recommend that you obtain legal advice before submitting your Residence application.


If any of the above raises questions – please contact Idesi Legal for further information. 

Residence 2021

At IDESI LEGAL we provide help for migrants and refugees coming to New Zealand. If you’re a NZ migrant and need help with the immigration process, get in touch.

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