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2021 Resident Visa - Application Process Details

12 November 2021

Updated 21 November 2022

You may know by now that oftentimes when Immigration promises an update, it leaves much to be desired. Last Friday’s INZ webinar for immigration advisers, though, was full of valuable information regarding the one-off 2021 Resident Visa.

Here are just some of the important takeaways from the session (our team will be sending out additional updates next week, so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the know). Q&As are broken out into two distinct categories: Eligibility criteria and the general application process.

Eligibility Criteria:

I meet Settled criteria, but much of my time here was on a student visa. Am I eligible for 2021RV?

Yes, you are eligible. It does not matter what type of visa you held when you arrived in NZ, nor which visa types you held between 29/9/2018 - 29/9/2021, so long as you were on an eligible visa type on 29/9/2021, and you will be on an eligible visa the day you submit your application.

I met Scarce criteria on 29/9/2021, but will qualify for Skilled when I submit my application. Is that okay?

Yes, it is acceptable to meet either Skilled or Scarce on 29/9/2021, but meet the other criteria on the date you submit your application.

I am self-employed and work about 30 hours per week. Am I eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa?

In order to be eligible for 2021RV if you are self-employed, you must show a history of contract work consistently at or above 30 hours per week, and you must have a current contract. Also, remember that you must have been holding an eligible visa on 29/9/2021 (for example, a partner visa is not an eligible visa).

My hours of work are different every week. How would I know if I meet Immigration’s “full time” definition?

You are best to get an assessment done as the maximum hours will be used to calculate whether the relevant remuneration threshold is met. If you are applying under the Skilled criteria, you cannot fall below $27/hour for each hour worked.

General Application Process:

Should I submit my application on 1 December for fastest approval?

NO! In fact, Immigration NZ emphasized during their 12/11/2021 webinar that they do not want all applicants rushing to submit their application as soon as this category opens. INZ is well resourced to manage the volume of applications. The order and manner of processing of these applications are still being finalised, which means it is unlikely to be processed in the order of submission.

Can I start a draft application prior to 1 December 2021?

No, there is no public access to the form until 1 December. However we recommend that you start to gather all required information and documents prior to 1 December for Phase 1 submissions.

Can I apply for the 2021 Resident visa, and then leave NZ while it is being assessed?

Yes, you can. 

Can I submit my application once Phase 1 opens even though I am actually eligible under Phase 2?

No. Firstly, Phase 1 and Phase 2 forms are different. Phase 1 form will require an application number to be provided for a residence/EOI already submitted. There is also no payment required upfront for Phase 1 applicants. Phase 2 applicants however do have to pay up front, which is reflected in the online application form.

Secondly, Immigration will decline any application that was eligible under Phase 2 but was submitted under Phase 1. You also risk getting character concerns should you do this.

Do I need to get a medical as part of my application?

If you provided a medical certificate in the past 36 months, then no additional medical is required. If your health has visibly deteriorated then you will need to get a limited medical done. If your previously submitted medicals have expired, then you will need to get a limited medical done.

At any point during the application processing, INZ reserves the right to request more medical information.

I live in an area that’s in lockdown; do I still need to get a medical?

If your situation requires you to get a limited medical (including x-ray), then you will need to get one. The Ministry of Health has confirmed that people in Auckland and Waikato (areas that are currently in lockdown) can still get medicals done. A Visa Pak on this is expected shortly. While it is recommended that you begin making bookings now, keep in mind that you do not need to submit your application on 1 December, or have your medical completed by then.

Am I required to apply for a new temporary work visa while my 2021 Resident Visa application is being processed?

While INZ is looking into options to protect lawful status for all applicants during the 2021RV rollout, there is nothing concrete planned. Therefore they have reiterated that the onus is on individual applicants to hold a valid visa at all times.

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