November 3

2021 Resident Visa

2021 Resident Visa

On the 29th of October Immigration New Zealand published the new immigration instructions which will be used to assess applications for the 2021 Resident Visa. They also published the fees for this visa and how they would charge for applicants who had already paid an Expression of Interest fee, a Residence from Work application fee or a Skilled Migrant application fee.

Links to their website containing these details can be found here:

Having reviewed these changes to immigration instructions I have written a series of questions and answers to help you understand if you are eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa and, if so, what you need to consider for your application and how much it will cost.

Questions & Answers

Am I eligible to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa?

You may apply for a 2021 Resident Visa if you meet one of three criteria AND you hold an Eligible Visa on 29 September 2021 and hold an Eligible Visa at the time of your application.

The three criteria are:

The Eligible Visas include:

  • Post Study Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Talent (Long Term Skill Shortage List) Work Visa
  • South Island Contribution Work Visa
  • A work visa granted under Section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009 provided that the applicant held an eligible work visa immediately and in the 6 months before being granted a Section 61 work visa

A full list of Eligible Visas can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website at the 2021 Resident Visa eligibility link above.   Critical Purpose Visitor Visas may also be eligible under certain circumstances.

When can I apply for the 2021 Resident Visa?

Immigration New Zealand will accept applications for 2021 Resident Visas in 2 phases:

  • Phase 1 – 1 December 2021 to 28 February 2022
    If on or prior to 29 September 2021 you had made an application for residence under the Skilled Migrant or Work to Residence categories OR filed an Expression of Interest under the Skilled Migrant category which included a dependent child aged 17 years or older as at 29 September 2019 then you may file an application from 1 December 2021 onwards.You must not file a 2021 Resident Visa application during Phase 1 unless you meet the criteria. If you file a 2021 Resident Visa during Phase 1 and Immigration New Zealand determines that you are not eligible until Phase 2 your application will be declined. If you are uncertain about your eligibility during Phase 1 you should seek immigration advice.
  • Phase 2 – 1 March to 31 July 2022
    All other eligible applicants may file their 2021 Resident Visa from 1 March 2022 until 31 July 2022.

Can my partner also get a 2021 Resident Visa as part of my application?

Yes – but they will need to satisfy an immigration officer that they are living with you in a genuine and stable partnership.   Immigration officers processing residency applications typically require more evidence that partners are living together in a genuine and stable partnership than is required for a temporary partnership-based application.

Failure to provide the required level of evidence could lead to delay in the processing of your 2021 Resident Visa application or, worse, it being declined.

Can my children also get 2021 Resident Visas as part of my application?

Yes.  However, if your child is aged 21 or more then you will need to prove they are financially dependent.  You should seek immigration advice if you will have a child who is 21 years old or older in your 2021 Resident Visa application.

I or a member of my family has a health issue.  Can we apply for a 2021 Resident Visa?

Yes, unless you or your family member requires dialysis, has haemophilia, has a physical, intellectual, cognitive or sensory disability or has TB.   However, you should seek immigration advice if you or a family member has a health issue.

If you have not provided medical exams with an application within the 36 months prior to your 2021 Resident Visa application being filed you will need to provide a Limited Medical.  A Limited Medical requires fewer exams than the General Medical which is required for many other residency categories.

I or a member of my family has had a conviction for an offence (traffic or criminal).  Can we apply for a 2021 Resident Visa?
Depending on the nature of the offence you may require a character waiver to be granted a 2021 Resident Visa.   In these circumstances you should seek immigration advice.

You are not required to provide Police Certificates from your country of citizenship or countries you may have lived in for 12 months or more in the past 10 years.   Immigration New Zealand will request a New Zealand Police Check on your behalf.   This will show any convictions you have as well as any pending charges which are yet to be heard in court.

Immigration New Zealand may also ask their 5-eyes partners (Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and United States) if there are any convictions or immigration concerns recorded against you in their jurisdictions.

My temporary work visa is due to expire soon.   Do I need to apply for another visa and does it have to be the same category of visa?

You must hold a valid temporary visa until your 2021 Resident Visa has been issued.  If your temporary visa expires you will become unlawful and Immigration New Zealand will suspend processing of your 2021 Resident Visa Application.   You will then need to request a further Eligible Visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009 which may or may not be granted.   Your 2021 Resident Visa application will remain suspended until you get an Eligible Visa.

You may change Eligible Visa categories.  If your 2021 Resident Visa application is based on skilled or scarce criteria, then you must satisfy the relevant hourly wage or occupation criteria that applied at the time of your application.

What is the application fee for the 2021 Resident Visa?

Immigration New Zealand’s fees for the 2021 Resident Visa are $2,160 including GST.  This is split between the application fee of $1,330 and an immigration levy of $830.

If you have already paid for an Expression of Interest under the Skilled Migrant category or an application under the Skilled Migrant or Residence from Work categories you will be credited for the fees you have paid.

What will Visa Feliz charge to file my 2021 Resident Visa application?

Our charges will vary depending on the number of applicants in your 2021 Resident Visa application and their circumstances.   As an example, for a Settled applicant applying on his or her own, our fee will be $1,380.   For a Skilled or Scarce applicant applying with a partner and 2 children under 21 years old our fee will be $3,680.

Contact me for an immigration consultation during which I can assess you and your family’s circumstances and advise you regarding your eligibility and the evidence you will require for your 2021 Resident Visa application.

I offer a one-hour Zoom consultation for a fee of $345 including GST and, if you decide to use my services for your 2021 Resident Visa process I will credit the consultation fee towards the fees you pay me for that application.

How long will it take for my 2021 Resident Visa application to be processed?

Immigration New Zealand has said it expects to process the majority of applications within 12 months.   However, no changes have been made to immigration instructions outlining the priority with which 2021 Resident Visa Applications will be processed relative to the other residency categories (i.e. Skilled Migrant, Residence from Work, Partnership, Dependent Child).

Decision Ready Application

Residency can be a complex process and applications often fail because a small but critical detail is missed.   The Government has said that the 2021 Resident Visa is a one-off category and it is not known what their policy will be for residency after applications close on 31 July 2021.   This could therefore be your last chance to secure residency in New Zealand.

Over the past 5 years I have filed many residency applications in the Skilled Migrant, Residence from Work, Partnership and Dependent Child categories.

I have never had a residency application declined.

My approach is to ensure that the application contains all of the evidence that the immigration officer needs to review in order to approve the application together with a Cover Letter which describes the evidence and why the applicant satisfies the relevant immigration instructions.   The Cover Letter is effectively a roadmap which lays out for the immigration officer each of the relevant criteria in immigration instructions and the relevant evidence that proves the applicant meets that criterion.

This is what I call a “Decision Ready” application.

Submitting a Decision Ready application should improve your chances of a smooth and rapid process resulting in you realizing your goal of becoming a New Zealand resident.

Contact us to find out more

Licensed Immigration Adviser

Licence number 201503581


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