Auckland ( Kanwalpreet Kaur Pannu ) The Minister of Immigration, Kris Faafoi, has announced the 2021 Resident Visa, a one-off, simplified pathway to residence. While the Minister acknowledged the inconveniences caused for the migrant community, he said, "We have been carefully working through this residence option to offer certainty they need to truly make New Zealand their home".
This Resident Visa will be available to most work-related visa holders, including Essential Skills, Work to Residence, Post Study Work visas, and their immediate family members. To be eligible, the principal applicant must have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021 and must hold or have applied for (and subsequently be granted) one of the eligible work visas.
In addition, they must also meet one of the following criteria:
As per the announcement, this visa will also be available for those who enter New Zealand as critical workers, and their families, for roles six months or longer until 31 July 2022.
There are many temporary migrants on relevant visas working across a range of sectors who may be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa. "Immigration New Zealand estimates the eligible visa holders will include over 5,000 health and aged care workers, around 9,000 primary industry workers, and more than 800 teachers. There are also about 15,000 construction and 12,000 manufacturing workers on relevant visa types, some of whom will be eligible for the one-off pathway."
Though the application process for the 2021 Resident Visa is simplified, it will still need to meet health requirements, pass police and security checks. These applications will be accepted from 1 December 2021 to 31 July 2022 in two phases:
This is to be noted that selections from the Skilled Migrant Category Expressions of Interest pool will remain closed until the 2021 Resident Visa closes on 31 July 2022. Still, applicants who meet the criteria in the EOI pool will be able to apply for this visa from 1 December 2021 or from 1 March 2022, depending on which category they fall into.
"This initiative addresses that immediate issue while work on the immigration rebalances looks longer-term at preparing for the eventual reopening of New Zealand's borders. But our message to industries and employers remains clear; they need to look for ways to build resilient workforces and to attract, train, and retain local workers and reduce their reliance on low-skilled migrant labor," Kris Faafoi said.
The one-off arrangement for the new 2021 Resident Visa would see most applications granted within a year of the category opening.