2021 Resident Visa eligibility

The eligibility criteria for the 2021 Resident Visa focuses on people whose primary purpose for being in New Zealand is to work.

Eligibility under the settled, skilled or scarce streams

You must have met the criteria on 29 September 2021 and on the date you submit your application. You can be on a different eligible work visa than the one you held on 29 September 2021 on the date you apply for the 2021 Resident Visa.

To be eligible you must:

  • have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021, and
  • be on an eligible visa on 29 September 2021, or have an application submitted for an eligible visa on  29 September 2021 that was later granted.

You must also meet one of these three criteria:

  • ('settled' criteria) have lived in New Zealand for the past three or more years, or
  • ('skilled' criteria) earn at or above the median wage (NZD $27 per hour), or
  • (‘scarce’ criteria) work in a role on a scarce list.

If you meet the criteria for eligibility but were in Australia on 29 September 2021 and were unable to return to New Zealand by that date, you may be considered eligible but you must be in New Zealand when you apply.

Check if you are eligible to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa

Eligible visas

On 29 September all applicants must have been on (or have applied for and later granted) one of the following visas:

  • 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 of the Immigration Act (provided the applicant held any of the visas above within 6 months before being granted a Section 61 visa)
  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV)

Short-term visa holders are not eligible, such as visitors, students, working holiday makers, and seasonal workers like those on the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme or those who enter as short-term critical workers.

New open work visas

An open work visa granted on 9 May 2022 by Special Direction is also considered an eligible visa, if you were holding a visa from the list above immediately prior to being granted the open work visa.

Visa extensions and visa conditions

Settled, skilled or scarce criteria

You must meet the criteria of being settled, skilled or scarce for the 2021 Resident Visa.

Settled, skilled or scarce criteria

Critical Purpose Visa holders

If you arrive in New Zealand as a critical health worker or other critical worker for a longer term role you may not need to meet settled, skilled or scarce criteria.

Critical Purpose Visa holders

Dependent children aged 25 years and over

If you are a dependent child and were included in a skilled residence application or Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest as at 29 September 2021 but are now aged 25 years or older you will be eligible for a 2021 Resident Visa, if your parent is approved a 2021 Resident Visa and you meet the health and character requirements.

More information

Partnership requirements

Partners do not have to be in New Zealand to be included in an application.

Partnership requirements for these applications are in line with current residence requirements for partners of New Zealanders.

How we define a partnership

You and your partner will need to be able to show you have lived together in a genuine and stable relationship for at least 12 months.

INZ recognises the COVID-19 pandemic and current border restrictions have meant some partners have been separated for genuine reasons. In these cases, INZ will take a pragmatic approach and consider the relationship history and how the relationship has been maintained during that time.

A partner in a newly established relationship where the couple has not previously met or lived together will not be eligible as a partner under the 2021 Resident Visa.

Partners outside of New Zealand granted a resident visa will be eligible to travel to New Zealand as they have a partnership-based visa with a New Zealand citizen or resident.

Health and character requirements

As well as meeting specific eligibility criteria, you must meet the health and character requirements for the 2021 Resident Visa.

Health

Health requirements for the 2021 Resident Visa will be limited but will capture medical conditions which are not eligible for medical waivers (tuberculosis, haemophilia, and conditions requiring dialysis or full-time care).

If you have provided a medical certificate within the last 36 months and were assessed as having an acceptable standard of health, you will not need to provide a further medical certificate. INZ will have this information available.

If your health has changed, or you were previously assessed as not having an acceptable standard of health, you must provide a new limited medical certificate.

If you are applying in Phase 1 or are able to make an early application to Phase 2, you must provide a medical certificate with your application. You have until 31 July 2022 to make your application.

If you are applying in Phase 2 and are not one of those able to apply early, you will be applying using our enhanced Immigration Online system. This means you will be able to apply even if you have not been able to get a medical certificate before you start your application. If a medical certificate is required, you will be asked to provide one later. If you have been able to get a medical certificate before you start, INZ will have this information and you will not need to supply another one.

Immigration New Zealand may request more health information if required.

If you require a new medical for your 2021 Resident Visa and will be applying for a new temporary visa prior to submitting your application you should get a general medical examination. A limited medical will not fulfil medical requirements for most temporary applications.

Character

INZ will undertake New Zealand Police checks for all 2021 Resident Visa applicants aged 17 years or older, regardless of how long they have been in New Zealand. An overseas police certificate may be requested if more information is required.

INZ will also undertake National Security Checks (NSC) for all applicants who would normally require one as part of standard immigration processes and requirements.

INZ may also request more information or verification needed as part of the process.

Visa holders outside New Zealand

Applicants must be in New Zealand to apply, unless they are the partner or child of a principal applicant who is in New Zealand, or they are a dependent child 25 years or older applying in their own right.

The 2021 Resident Visa is designed to provide certainty for migrant workers inside New Zealand and businesses who have been playing a critical role in supporting our economy while the border remains largely closed.

Those outside New Zealand who are wanting to make New Zealand home can apply for visas when the Government is able to safely reduce border restrictions.

Student visa holders

Student visa holders (including PhD and masters students) are not eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa. There are no plans to broaden eligibility criteria

If you wish to remain in New Zealand after you complete your studies, you will need to apply for, and meet the criteria of the temporary or residence visa types available to you.