The Minister of Immigration, Kris Faafoi, has announced the 2021 Resident Visa. It is a one-off residence visa that is easier and faster to apply for. It will help the 165,000 migrants currently living in New Zealand on temporary work visas.
Migrant families have been in a difficult situation during the Covid-19 crisis. Some of them were not allowed to bring close family members to NZ. Some of them have had to leave New Zealand because their visas expired. Businesses have not been able to bring new migrant workers into New Zealand to replace them.
These changes allow migrants who came here on temporary visas to settle here with their family members.
The 2021 Resident Visa will also help New Zealand to bring new, skilled workers into the country. This has been difficult to do during the pandemic.
This new visa will affect about 5,000 health workers, 9,000 primary industry workers, 800 teachers, 15,000 construction workers and 12,000 manufacturing workers who are currently working in New Zealand on limited visas.
The 2021 Resident Visa will be available to most people who have a work visa, including Essential Skills, Work to Residence, and 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 have some kind of work visa, or be in the process of applying for one. They must also meet ONE of the following criteria:
- lived in New Zealand for at least three years
- earn at least $27 per hour
- be working in a job that is on the Long Term Skill Shortage List
- be a registered health care or education worker
- work in personal care or other critical health worker roles
- work in the primary industries.
The visa will also be available for those who enter New Zealand as critical workers, and their families, for at least 6 months until 31 July 2022.
The government has tried to make the application process for the 2021 Resident Visa fast and simple. It should take about a year for the visa application to be processed. Applicants will still need to go through health, police and security checks.
Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa will open in two phases; on 1 December 2021 and 1 March 2022.
By the end of October this year, Immigration New Zealand will contact visa holders who are eligible to apply from 1 December to give them information about the application process.
critical workers: This is a special term used by the immigration department to describe special types of workers who are needed. You can read more about it here: https://www.new-zealand-immigration.com/visa/critical-workers-in-nz
primary industries: these are industries such as agriculture, mining, forestry and fishing
residence visa: a visa where you can live in New Zealand permanently, and you get free health care, education, welfare, and you can vote
temporary: not forever, for a limited time
expire: when a temporary thing finishes, it expires. For example, your credit card as a beginning date (date of issue) and an expiry date
pandemic: When a disease (such as Covid-19) spreads across the world
settle: make a place your home
skilled: able to do something useful
immediate family members: members of your nuclear family: husband, wife, father, mother, sister, brother, grandparents. It is quite likely that the department of immigration will define immediate family members as: husband, wife, dependant children, possibly elderly parents
criteria: a list of things that make someone eligible
at least: the minimum number or more