2021 Resident Visa
NZ Immigration Specialist

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2021 Resident Visa

The New Zealand Government has announced a new one-off residence visa pathway, the 2021 Resident Visa, for some temporary work visa holders currently in New Zealand. 

Some people arriving in New Zealand between 30 September 2021 and 31 July 2022 on long-term critical purpose visas may also be eligible for this new visa. Partners and dependants can be included as part of these residence applications.

The 2021 Resident Visa provides a residence pathway for up to 165,000 migrants, including more than 5000 health and aged care workers, about 9000 primary industry workers, and more than 800 teachers.

The 2021 Resident Visa will be available to most holders of work-related visas – including Essential Skills, Work to Residence, and Post Study Work visas – and their immediate family members.


Applicants must have met the criteria on 29 September 2021.

To be eligible you must:

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

You must also meet one of the three criteria:

  • have lived in New Zealand for three or more years, or
  • earn $27 per hour or more, or
  • work in a role on a scarce list.

If you meet the criteria for eligibility but are in Australia and have been unable to return to New Zealand by 29 September 2021, you may be considered eligible.

Check eligibility via link below:


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Changes to employer processes and visas

Over the next 18 months, INZ will be bringing in changes that affect some employers and the migrant workers they employ. These include:

  • introducing a new employer-led visa application process that will involve 3 stages — the employer check, the job check and the worker check
  • a new temporary work visa that replaces 6 temporary work visas
  • classifying jobs as low- or high-paid based on whether they are paid above or below the median New Zealand wage, instead of using a combination of the ANZSCO Version 1.2 | Australian Bureau of Statistics

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The Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) identifies occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers both globally and throughout New Zealand.

If you get a job in an occupation on the LTSSL and meet the list requirements, you may be granted a Work to Residence visa under the Long Term Skill Shortage List work visa. This means that you may be eligible to apply for residence in two years, provided you meet standard requirements and that job has a base salary of at least NZ$45,000.

Link: https://skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz/

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From 24 February 2020, SMC applicants must be paid NZD $25.50 or more per hour (or the equivalent annual salary) to be awarded points for skilled employment.

For example, minimum salaries for occupations at ANZSCO skill levels 1 to 3 must be:

  • NZD $39,780 a year based on a 30-hour work week
  • NZD $46,410 a year based on a 35-hour work week
  • NZD $53,040 a year based on a 40-hour work week.

Between 26 November 2018 and 23 February 2020 applicants must be paid NZD $25.00 or more per hour (or the equivalent annual salary).

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New financial requirements

The new financial requirements for the Parent Resident Visa can only be met through the income of the sponsor and their partner.

Here is a comparison of the previous and the new financial requirements, based on a median salary of NZD $53,040:

Sponsor Previous New (expected income thresholds)
1 sponsor for 1 parent (sponsor’s income) NZD $65,000 NZD $106,080 2 times the median salary
1 sponsor for 2 parents (sponsor’s income) NZD $65,000 NZD $159,120 3 times the median salary
Sponsor and partner  for 1 parent  (joint income) NZD $90,000 NZD $159,120 3 times the median salary
Sponsor and partner for 2 parents  (joint  income) NZD $90,000 NZD $212,160 4 times the median salary
Guaranteed lifetime income of 1 applicant or of a couple NZD $28,166 or
NZD $41,494
Not available in new parent category
Settlement funds NZD $500,000 Not available in new parent category