New Rules Clarified for the One-off Residency Visa


On the 29th September 2021 the New Zealand government announced the new 2021 Resident Visa. This new pathway to residence potentially opens the door to 165,000 migrants currently in New Zealand (and a smaller number who may have not yet have arrived) to gain residence under an expedited process that will allegedly take only 1 year from the time an application is submitted.

This ‘one off’ opportunity is available to a wide range of people in different circumstances, but it must be applied for prior to 31stJuly 2022.

  • One-off resident visa for up to 165,000 migrants provides certainty for New Zealand businesses so they can plan into the future
  • Visa creates residence pathway for over 5,000 health and aged care workers, around 9,000 primary industry workers, and more than 800 teachers
  • Streamlined application process requiring health, police and security criteria to be met
  • Majority of applications to be granted within a year of the category opening


To be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa you must have been in New Zealand on the 29th September 2021, and have been on an eligible Work Visa; or have applied for an eligible visa prior to this, which is subsequently granted.

For the one-off residency visa migrants need to meet one of these three criteria:

  • Settled criteria (have lived in New Zealand for the past three or more years),
  • Skilled criteria(earn at or above the median wage of $27 per hour), OR

  • Scarce criteria(work in a role on a scarce list).

There are additional criteria that need to be met – an applicant will need to have:

  • lived in New Zealand for 3 years or more; OR
  • earn at or above the median wage ($27 per hour); OR
  • work in a role on a scarce list

Critical Purpose Visitor Visa holder will also be eligible where they are:

  • Critical health workers for longer term roles (6 months or longer), and
  • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months).

1. Settled criteria:

The Settled criteria is the easiest for migrants to qualify for. Most applications should be able to demonstrate having lived and worked in New Zealand for over 821 days over the last three years. It is also stated that the time spent in New Zealand doesn’t need to be consecutive which is great news for those who may have taken a temporary contract in another county while uncertain what the future was going to be in New Zealand. See the full updated wording below:

2. Skilled criteria:

Provision has been made for flexibility in meeting the skilled/pay criteria if an applicant’s pay or hours were temporarily reduced due to the business being affected by COVID-19, which is great. See the full updated wording below:

 3. Scarce criteria:

It’s excellent to see that there is transportability within the new system whereby people who may have qualified based on a job under the scarce list, can apply under the Skilled criteria if there’s been a subsequent change in circumstances since 29 September and vice versa.

4. Dependent children:

The INZ has made it easy for dependent children to gain residency, even if they have now left New Zealand, and ‘aged out’ of the previous criteria. This will be a welcome relief to the many parents who had to send their children off to university in other countries or have them sit here twiddling their thumbs not eligible for any visa class.

Apply for one-off Residency visa:

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.

Eligible visas:

  • 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 of the Immigration Act (provided the applicant held any of the visas above within 6 months before being granted a Section 61 visa)
  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV)

Processing timeframes:

It is expected the majority of applications will be processed within 12 months, with most being processed much faster.


Cost involved:

The total of cost of the 2021 Resident Visa will be $2,160 including GST. This includes a $1,330 application fee and $830 immigration levy.

Novaturient is a Licensed Immigration consultant that offer Visa services in acquiring Permanent Resident Visa, Student Visa and Visit Visa for countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Schengen Countries and the UK.

Call us : 9731473738
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