New Zealand 2021 Residence Visa & Eligibility

Residency 2021 – LIA meeting 12 November 2021 –

Application Criteria for 2021 Residence Visa Applications:

From 1 December 2021 you can apply if:

  • you have already applied for residence under the Skilled Migrant or Residence from Work categories on or 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.

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

All applications must be made by 31 July 2022.

Applications can only be submitted online.

As part of the online application process, Phase one applicants must enter their Skilled Migrant Category, Residence from Work application or Expression of Interest number before they can proceed with their application. The application number can only be used for one application.

If you are eligible to apply from 1 December 2021 you will receive an email from Immigration New Zealand by the end of October with more information.

Application Criteria for 2021 Residence Visa Applications:

  • In New Zealand on 29 September 2021 AND Held (or submitted an application for) an eligible visa on 29 September 2021
  • Applicants must meet one of the following criteria: Applicant must be SETTLED, SKILLED or SCARCE.


SETTLED: (Applicant has been On-Shore in New Zealand for at least 821 Days)

  • The Application form will ask about the time spent in New Zealand, but applicants do not need to provide any additional evidence to demonstrate they meet the SETTLED criteria.
  • INZ will make use of information they already possess to calculate the applicant’s time spent in New Zealand.
  • It does NOT matter what type of visa the applicant held when they first arrived in NZ, nor does it matter what type of visa was held between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021.

SKILLED: (As of 29 September 2021, must be paid $27/hr. Contractors will be included if have history. 30 hours per week is included)

  • Applicants must provide the following evidence for their application: Employment Agreement OR Letter from employer confirming Pay & Hours AND Full bank statement, IRD Summary and/or payslips showing your rate of pay on 29 September 2021.

SCARCE: (List will be online and have high and low skilled workers)

  • Applicants must provide the following evidence for their application: Employment Agreement OR Letter from employer confirming Pay, Hours & Job Duties AND Evidence of occupational registration in New Zealand (if required).


Q: Can I apply for the 2021 Residence Visa and while it is under assessment depart from New Zealand?

A: In order to finalise a 2021 Residence Visa the Principal applicant needs to be in New Zealand. If an applicant has travelled overseas, the 2021 Residence Visa application cannot be approved until the applicant has returned to New Zealand. The current border restrictions may prevent re-entry to New Zealand.

Q: Can I include my partner who is currently offshore in my application for residence?

A: Yes, normal partnership instructions apply. Where the principal applicant and their partner aren’t currently living together, INZ will consider whether there are compelling reasons for separation. One of those reasons may include the closure of border to residents/citizens.

Q: During the processing of my 2021 Resident Visa Application, I am required to apply for a new work visa. WIll this affect my eligibility?

A: We are looking into options to maintain a person’s lawful status while their 2021 Resident Visa is being processed. In the meantime, the normal processes will apply.

Q: Can the secondary applicant of an on hand SMC/RFW apply under phase 1 if they own right for the 2021 Resident Visa?

A: Yes, all applicants include in a Skilled Migrant Category or Residence from Work application, or expression of interest accepted on or before 29 September 2021 may qualify as a phase 1 applicant, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

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