Resident Visas

Resident Visas

Earlier in 2021, New Zealand was ranked the best out of nearly 100 countries for responding to Covid19. Already a popular migrant destination, this pandemic response has catapulted the desire for residence in the country.

New 2021 Resident Visa Launched 30 September, 2021

This new residence pathway will give 165,000 migrants an 8-month window to apply for residence - Phase 1 for priority applicants begins on 1 December, 2021, and Phase 2 for all other applicants will begin on 1 March, 2022.

But unlike the SMC pathway to residence, this visa is not points-based.

Learn more about resident visa eligibility requirements.

Get answers to commonly asked questions for this 2021 resident visa pathway.

New Zealand Residence Program

The government’s residence objectives (which form an integral part of the wider immigration system) are reflected in the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP). This is the lever used to regulate and control residence priorities and overall numbers. It simply means who and how many people can get residence each year. The last NZRP ran from 1 July 2018 until 31 December 2019 and included a planning range of 50,000 to 60,000 residence approvals. A total of 52,048 people were approved residence during the 18 months.


Residence in New Zealand comes in many shapes and forms, but if permanent settlement is your goal, it is critical to take the necessary steps to prepare for it. The most common categories are impacted by Covid19.


Skilled Migrant Category

The aim of this category is to link global talent with local opportunities. This is achieved through a two-stage point system and a selection threshold applies. Point thresholds can be changed time to time by Minister of Immigration. The first stage of the SMC process, Expression of Interest (EOI) has been suspended until further notice. This is reviewed every 6 months. However, any EOIs submitted prior to the suspension are still being progressed based on the priority criteria; with an overall processing time frame for this category of up to 2 years. We will update this section when new SMC applications are able to be submitted.

There is no visa pre-requisite for this category – it can be applied from in or outside New Zealand. Hence, most Essential Skills Work Visa holders will seek residence under this pathway.

As of 30 September, 2021: EOIs will remain suspended until July 2022.

Residence from Work for holders of Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa

Those that have held Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa for at least 24 months can apply for residence under this category. They must have maintained their employment at the required salary threshold ($55,000 or $79,560 per annum) with an accredited employer (unless the visa was varied to allow work for a non-accredited employer), for the entire 24-month period.

New applications for this category will be closed on 31st October 2021. However, anyone who already holds a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa will retain the associated residence pathway.

Family categories of residence

There many different subtypes under Family such as – Parent, Parent Retirement, Dependents, and Partners. These pathways are for family applicants when there is no provision for them to be included in other residence categories or they are were not eligible at the time.