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Wondering whether you are eligible for the New 2021 Resident Visa? Here’s what you need to know!

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Today (30th September), we all woke up to the news of Immigration New Zealand announcing a new one-off resident visa category to as many as 165,000 migrant workers. 

Here are the essential points that you need to know about the 2021 Resident Visa category. 


Following is a list of visas that are eligible to apply under the new visa category : 

  • 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 (provided the applicant held another eligible visa type within 6 months of being granted a Section 61 visa)
  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV):
    • Critical health workers for longer-term roles (6 months or longer)
    • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months)

Partners and dependent children of the above visa holders, including the ones who are currently outside of New Zealand, can be included in the resident application.


In order to be eligible applicants must have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021, and be on a above-mentioned visa or have applied for an eligible visa before 29 September 2021 that is later granted. In addition to that, applicants must have met one of the following three criteria on 29th September 2021. 

  • You have lived in New Zealand for 3 or more years

In order to be eligible under this criteria, you must have lived in New Zealand for the past three or more years and have arrived in New Zealand on or before 29th September 2018. Your time in New Zealand does not need to be consecutive. However, you have to have spent a minimum of 821 days in New Zealand between 29th September 2018 and 29th September 2021. 

  • You must be paid the median wage of $27 per hour or above
  • Should work in a role that is on a scarce list 

In order to be eligible under this criteria,  on 29th September 2021 you must work in a job that is included in a scarce list. You can refer following links to know more about these scarce lists.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of migrants workers were left in limbo as they had to battle an uncertain future filled with issues like unemployment, visa expirations and visa grant delays. 

We here at Sri LankaNZ also raised these concerns last year at the meeting of the  Labour Ethnic Communities Team in order to find better solutions for the situation. Therefore, we are delighted to see such a visa category bring forth by Immigration New Zealand. This new visa category will create a straightforward pathway to residency for many migrant workers in New Zealand.

“We are providing a way forward for our migrant families who have been long disrupted by Covid-19 while ensuring businesses have the certainty they need to plan into the future. We acknowledge the uncertainty and difficulties Covid-19 and our closed borders have caused our migrant community.”

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi

The new 2021 Resident visa will be open for applications in two phases, with the first group of people able to apply from 1st December 2021 and the second group from 1st March 2022. All applications are expected to be submitted to Immigration New Zealand by 31 July 2022. It is expected that the majority of applications will be processed within 12 months, with most being processed much faster.

For more information visit 


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