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On 29 September 2021 at 5am the New Zealand Minister of Immigration announced the introduction of a new one-off residence visa category that will give a pathway to residence for up to 165,000 people.  Among those, the majority would not otherwise have had a pathway.  This comes after mounting industry, grass roots and business pressure for more certainty as a means to retain valued workers needing certainty.  See our commentary on this visa type. Suffice to say it's a veritable bombshell with mixed blessings.

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The One-Off 2021 Residence Visa

This can be applied for on-shore only. Closes 31st July 2022

Key Eligibility Criteria

1. As of 29 September 2021 you must have been in New Zealand unless you are coming in as a Critical Worker for > 

   6 months.

2. On that date you must have held (or have applied for and later been granted) one of the following visas noting that partnership visas, working holiday visas, student visas are the main categories not on the list:​

  • 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 (provided the applicant held another eligible visa type within 6 months before being granted a Section 61 visa)

  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV):

    • Critical health workers for longer term roles (6 months or longer), and

    • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months).

3.   You must additionally have met (and continue to meet) just one of the "3 S's" on 29 September 2021 i.e. being:

  • Settled i.e. you arrived into NZ on or before 28.9.18 and spent 821+ days in NZ up to 29.9.21

  • Skilled i.e you are paid $27+ per hour

  • Scarce i.e. you are either (noting you only have to meet one of these):

    • A registered health or education professional​

    • A critical health worker

    • You have a role on the Long Term Skills Shortage List or LTSSL

    • On the primary sector scarce list

4.  The only exception to the rule that you must have been in NZ on 29th September 2021 is for Critical Workers.

If you come into New Zealand as a Critical health or other worker for a long-term role of 6+ months, as long as you land into NZ and are able to apply on or before 31 July 2022, you can joint this route to residence.

5. This visa will be able to be applied for between 1 December 2021 and 31 July 2022.  There will be two cohorts:

Cohort 1: from 1 December 21

  • Those who already have either a Skilled Migrant or Residence From Work application submitted as at 29​ September 2021

  • Those with an Expression of Interest under the Skilled Migrant Category submitted with 17+ year old dependents as at 29 September 2021

Cohort 2: from 1 March 22

  • Everyone else who is eligible

Key points

  • Work, where needed to meet the "skilled" or "scarce" criteria will need to be full-time i.e. 30 hours

  • If you are needing to show you meet the LTSSL there is no need to have the qualification or work experience

  • The cost of this new visa is now confirmed as being $2160 but if you have already submitted a residence visa under either SMC or Residence From Work you will not have to pay for this visa up-front.  Instead, you will be either charged or refunded the difference once approved in principle.

Deciding which category to go for

  • There are some interesting issues which may influence a decision whether to completely abandon your existing pathway to pursue this new category.   There are cases where it will be extremely important to get strategic advice on the right way to go as this visa type is not entirely straightforward in all cases.

  • For employees in a single workplace we are able to offer group Zoom sessions

Watch this video for more information from Katy

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