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This factsheet is for applicants and advisers who want to know about the new residence framework under the Immigration Act 2009. This factsheet is also for people who hold a New Zealand residence visa, residence permit or a returning resident’s visa (RRV) and want to know what their status is under the new Immigration Act.
People wanting to know more about sponsorship changes resulting from the new Act should refer to the Sponsorship factsheet.
The Immigration Act 2009 replaces the system of residence permits, residence visas and returning residents’ visas (RRVs) with residence class visas.
Residence class visas consist of:
Although there are new types of residence visas, the criteria to gain New Zealand residence does not change. All existing residence categories (such as the Skilled Migrant Category, the Family Categories and the Residence From Work Categories) remain the same. Current residents and residence applicants may not notice any change at all other than terminology changes.
In most cases, applicants who are approved residence are granted a ‘resident visa’ with ‘travel conditions’ that allow the holder to:
A resident visa holder may also be subject to other ‘conditions’ depending on the residence category they applied under, for example, people approved under the Investor Category are required to invest a certain amount of money in New Zealand and maintain this money invested for a certain amount of time. This is referred to as a ‘condition on the visa’.
A resident visa holder who wishes to leave New Zealand and return after the expiry date of their travel conditions should obtain one of the following before leaving New Zealand:
If a resident visa holder is outside New Zealand after their travel conditions have expired, they need to apply for a ‘second or subsequent resident visa’ if they wish to return to New Zealand as a resident. This is a new type of application that allows their residence status to be reinstated.
A permanent resident visa allows the holder to re-enter New Zealand as a permanent resident anytime. A permanent resident visa cannot be subject to any conditions.
To obtain a permanent resident visa, a resident visa holder must have:
Most people who are eligible are initially granted a resident visa then progress to a permanent resident visa by making another application after they meet the commitment to New Zealand criteria. However, new policy settings enable a small number of residence applicants to progress directly to a permanent resident visa. These are:
Only people who apply for residence on or after 29 November 2010 are considered for the grant of a permanent resident visa as a result of their first residence application.
Everyone holding a residence visa or permit or RRV is ‘deemed’ to hold the equivalent status under the Immigration Act 2009 as shown in the table below. ‘Deeming’ means that holders of residence visas, permits or RRVs do not have to do anything to obtain their new status. Please note though that if you have any conditions on your current visa, permit or RRV, those conditions continue under the new system.
More information about applications for the new variation of travel conditions, permanent resident visas and second or subsequent visas can be found in the Guide for Resident Visa Holders (INZ 1176), which are available at www.immigration.govt.nz/forms.
Disclaimer: Every care has been taken to ensure the information in this factsheet is accurate. While the use of the information in this factsheet may assist you in your application, applications will be assessed by Immigration New Zealand according to the requirements of the Immigration Act 2009.