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2021 Resident Visa - FAQs Part 2

05 October 2021

Since the announcement of the 2021 Resident Visa on 30 September 2021, we have received a number of questions regarding the eligibility criteria for this residence visa.

In order to break down the eligibility requirements - there are two criteria that must be met:

  1. Be physically in New Zealand on 29/09/2021
  2. Be holding an eligible visa or having applied for an eligible visa (which must later be granted) on 29/09/2021

The third mandatory requirement gives the applicant their choice of the "Three Ss"- of which, applicants must meet at least one of the three in order to be eligible to apply for the new visa.

  1. Skilled” - The applicant must work in a role that pays at or above the median wage of $27/hour on 29/09/2021
  2. Scarce” - The applicant must work in a job that is on one of the eligible scarce lists as of 29/09/2021
  3. Settled” - The applicant must have arrived in NZ before 29/09/2018 AND have been in NZ for 821 days between 29/09/2018 and 29/09/2021

To further explain these Three Ss, we have broken down our FAQs into the “S” that each question best falls into. 

You can also find questions that have to do with the Skilled Migrant Category at the bottom of this post.

Skilled - Earning at/Above Median Wage ($27/hour)

I was working in a job that paid me $27/hour on 29/09/2021, but I have since left that job. Can I still apply for the 2021 Resident Visa?

Maybe - it depends on your circumstances on the day you submit the application. In order to be eligible for this visa, you must meet the eligibility requirements on 29/09/2021 as well as on the day you submit your application.

I used to get $27 an hour but I left that job before 29/09/2021. Am I still able to apply?

Not under the median wage requirement, because you needed to be paid at or above $27 on the day of the announcement (29/09/2021), which you were not, as you had already left the job.  But although you do not meet the “skilled” criteria, you may still meet the “settled” or “scarce” criteria. 

But what if I find another job paying $27 by the time I submit my residence application? Then it should be ok?

No, because you had to be paid $27 on the day of the announcement (29/09/2021) AND the day of the application. While you may meet the latter, you don’t meet the former. 

Scarce - Jobs on a Scarce List 

Note that we are also including questions related to employment in general in this section.

I hold a Post-Study Work Visa and I’ve been in NZ for three years already. Do I need to be working in order to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa?

No, you don’t have to be working if you meet the “Settled” requirement.

In addition to the two mandatory requirements for this visa (in the country on 29/09/2021 and holding an eligible visa as of 29/09/2021), you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Skilled - employed in a role that earns at least $27/hour
  • Scarce - working in a role on an eligible scarce list
  • Settled - in NZ for 821 days between 29/09/2018 and 29/09/2021 and arrived in the country on/before 29/09/218

So in the case of the example above, you would be eligible as long as you were in the country on 29/09/2021 and arrived before 29/09/2018.

I am working part-time in a role that pays me $27/hour. Does this count as skilled employment? 

No, in order to meet the “skilled” criteria, you must be working full-time - or at least 30 hours per week. This must be mentioned in your contract - as guaranteed hours. 

Settled - In NZ for the past 3 Years

For this, you have not be in NZ for 821 days between 29 Sep 2018 and 29 Sep 2021 plus arrived in NZ before 29 Sep 2018.

I am eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa. Can I leave NZ now and still apply?

Yes, so long as you were in NZ on 29/09/2021, you also have to be in NZ when you apply for this new residence visa be it in Phase 1 (December 2021) or Phase 2 (March 2022). If you are looking to leave NZ before you apply for this residence visa, be mindful of current border restrictions, MIQ and border exemption requirements.

If I am eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa, but have already submitted my application for a different residence visa - which will INZ prioritise?

It is possible to have two residence visa applications under assessment with INZ at the same time. If this happens, the new 2021 Resident Visa application will be prioritised.

Skilled Migrant Category

This section applies to those have submitted an SMC - be this in the queue for processing or just an EOI after the category closed in March 2020. 

Will my already submitted SMC application be assessed using these new instructions?

Your SMC application will be assessed against the criteria that was in place at the time your application was submitted. It is possible that your SMC application could be declined, even though you are eligible for residence under this new residence visa.

I have already submitted my SMC application - will I need to apply for this new residence visa separately?

Yes, you will need to apply for this visa separately as INZ is unable to convert your existing residence application.

If you have already submitted your SMC application or other Residence from Work application, you are eligible to apply for this new 2021 Resident Visa in Phase 1 - which begins on 1 December 2021. 

I submitted my SMC EOI after March 2020 - will I need to apply for this new residence visa separately?

Yes, you will need to apply for this residence visa separately as this category did not exist when you submitted your EOI.

My SMC application was submitted in late 2019. Should I apply for this new residence visa or wait for the decision on my already submitted SMC application?

This is entirely your choice - SMC/Residence from Work applications will continue to be processed. Click here if you would like to discuss your options with an Aims Global licensed immigration adviser.

Note that the questions and answers for this specific FAQs article were extracted from materials shared with NZAMI, and are subject to change as additional information is released by INZ.

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