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Residence Visa 2021

To recognise the immense contribution migrants have made to New Zealand during COVID-19 and the uncertainty they’ve faced with closed borders and necessary changes to immigration settings, the Government has today announced a new one-off residence category, the One-off Residency 2021 . This is a celebration worthy news release. 

It means that a large number of work visa holders will now be able to remain in New Zealand permanently. It will be available to those who have already submitted resident visa applications under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and Residence from Work (RfW) category and those who have submitted an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI), as well as many other work visa holders who may not have been eligible through the current skilled residence pathways.

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To be eligible for 2021 Resident visa you must:

Have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021

Hold an eligible visa or have applied for an eligible visa before 29 September 2021 that is later granted

You must also meet any one of the following three criterias:


have lived in New Zealand for three or more years


earn at or above the median wage ($27 per hour)


work in a role on a scarce list.


To be eligible you must:


The first phase of applications for the One off Residency 2021(RV) opens on 1 December 2021; You will be eligible to apply on this date, if you have lodged:

  • An Expression of Interest (EOI) for the Residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), which includes a dependent child over the age of 17; or
  • Resident Visa applications under the SMC and Residence from Work (RfW) Categories.


The second phase of applications for the 2021 Resident Visa opens on 1 March 2022 for everyone else who are eligible, including Critical Purpose Visa (CPV) holders who do not qualify to apply in the first phase.

Critical workers

Some critical workers coming to New Zealand for a longer-term (6+ months) role do not need to meet settled, skilled, or the scarce criteria, if they held a CPV on 29 September 2021, or was granted one after that date.


To be eligible, those granted CPV to obtain occupational registration as a nurse in New Zealand must:

  • Pass their Competency Assessment Programme and secure occupational registration; or
  • Have transitioned to an eligible work visa before or on 29 September 2021 and meet any of the settled, skilled or scarce requirements. 



To be eligible, first phase applicants must meet criteria on:

  • 29 September 2021; and
  • The date they submit their application.


Principal applicants must have been in New Zealand or Australia on 29 September 2021 or subsequently granted a CPV. Those in Australia must have left New Zealand between 6 April 2021 and 23 July 2021 (inclusive). 

All applicants must be in New Zealand to apply.


Settled Criteria

To be eligible under the settled criteria, applicants must have lived in New Zealand for the past 3 or more years and;

  • have arrived in New Zealand on or before 29 September 2018, and
  • have spent a minimum of 821 days in New Zealand between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021 (inclusive).

Skilled Criteria

To be eligible under the skilled criteria, applicants must;

  • Be earning $27 an hour for at least 30 hours a week.
  • Those temporarily affected by COVID-19-related disruption to business activity must be able to show they were previously paid that rate.
  • Remuneration calculation excludes employment-related allowances and performance bonuses.  
  • Self-employed contractors with a consistent history of contract work and a current contract for services may be eligible. 

Scarce Criteria

To be eligible under the scarce criteria, applicants must;

  • Be working at least 30 hours a week, in a role that is listed on the scarce list.
  • Those temporarily affected by COVID-19-related disruption to business activity must previously have been working for an average of at least 30 hours per week. 


Partners and dependent children in New Zealand and overseas can be included in the resident application as secondary applicants. 

Dependent children aged 25+

  • If included in a Skilled Residence or EOI cannot be included in this One-Off Resident Visa application.
  • However, can submit their residence application as an attached document when they submit their online 2021 Resident Visa application and they do not have to pay an additional fee.

They can be granted their own resident visa, if:

  • They meet the health and character requirements; and
  • Their parent is granted a 2021 Resident Visa.

Dependent children overseas who are granted a 2021 Resident Visa are exempt from our border restrictions and may travel to New Zealand.


  • Current resident visa requirements apply.
  • To approve a 2021 Resident Visa for a partner, INZ must be satisfied that the couple have lived together in a genuine and stable relationship for 12 months or more during their relationship. 
  • INZ will consider the relationship history of couples separated by COVID-19 border restrictions or other factors when assessing applications for partners. 
  • A partner will not be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa if they have not met or lived with the principal applicant. 


A limited medical certificate will be required if: 

  • a medical certificate has not been provided within the last 36 months, or  
  • there have been subsequent changes to an applicant’s health, or 
  • an applicant’s standard of health was previously deemed to have not met requirements.


  • Applicants are not required to provide an overseas police certificate unless there are specific concerns.
  • INZ will request a New Zealand police check on the applicant’s behalf.


  • The total cost of the RV 2021 is NZD$2,160 including GST.  
  • This includes a NZD$1,330 application fee and NZD$830 immigration levy.  
  • Applicants will not need to pay another fee when they apply for a 2021 Resident Visa.  
  • However, once an in-principle decision has been made on the 2021 Resident Visa application, the application fee will need to be paid.  
  • At this point, for those who choose to withdraw their SMC application, the fee from that application will be used to cover the cost of the 2021 Resident Visa and the difference will be refunded.  
  • As the RfW and SMC EOI application fees are less than the 2021 Resident Visa application, these applicants who choose to withdraw their earlier application will need to pay the difference in the fees before an application is finalised. 
  • Those who choose not to withdraw their earlier applications will need to pay the NZD$1330 application fee for the 2021 Resident Visa. This is to cover the cost of processing both applications.  
  • Those who have paid a levy will not need to pay it again.


  • The conditions of the 2021 Resident Visa will match other resident visas.


  • The application form for the 2021 Resident Visa will be available online from 1 December 2021.  
  • The SMC or RfW application number or EOI reference number must be included in the 2021 Resident Visa application. 
  • The application number must not be shared. It can only be used once. 


  • From 1 March 2022 all other eligible applicants can apply, including those who have submitted a SMC EOI. 
  • All applications for the 2021 Resident Visa must be made by 31 July 2022
  • INZ is committed to deciding most of these residence applications within 12 months. Some will be decided much faster.


    Have you been in New Zealand on 29-Sep-2021?
    What Visa did you held on 29-Sep-2021?

    Settled Criteria:

    Have you lived in New Zealand from or before 29-Sep-2018?
    Have you spent at least 841 days between 29-Sep-2018 and 29-Sep-2021?

    Skilled Criteria:

    Did you earn $27 an hour on 29-Sep-2021?
    Was your pay rate affected by Covid?

    Scarce Criteria:

    Is your job within the Scarce list? Browse the Scarce List clicking here.

    Your Details:

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