Immigration New Zealand have announced a one-off, simplified pathway to residence for around 165,000 migrants currently in New Zealand. This category promises to be much quicker and simpler to administer. Critically, partners and dependent children, including those currently outside New Zealand, can be included in this residence visa application.


The principle applicant must have:

  1. Have been physically in New Zealand on 29 September 2021; and
  2. Be in New Zealand at the time the residence visa application is submitted; and
  3. Hold (or have applied for) an eligible work visa; and
  4. Meet one of the following criteria:

- have lived in New Zealand for three or more years; or

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

- work in a role on a scarce list (this is a combination of occupations that are on the long term skills shortages list, critical health care workers, personal care workers and identified primary sector roles that are non-seasonal). 

Eligible visas

All applicants must be on an eligible visa. These are:

  • 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), and
  • Other critical workers for long term roles (more than 6 months).

Application process

The 2021 residence visa application is online and will open in two phases:

  1. from 1 December 2021 for those who have a residence visa in place under the Skilled Migrant or Residence from Work Category
  2. from 1 March 2022 for all other eligible applicants.

Applications must be made before 31 July 2022.

Processing timeframes

Immigration New Zealand are suggesting they will be able to process these applications within 12 months, with most being processed much faster.

What to do next

Very little detail about the process and requirements for the next steps has been released as yet by Immigration New Zealand in connection with this new policy. 

  • If you consider that this policy might affect you, we recommend that you check if you are eligible to apply for the residence visa. You can check this here. 
  • Register your interest with us here and we can keep you informed of the policy detail once we know more.