New Zealand's 2021 Resident Visa
New Zealand was in the limelight for the right and wrong reasons during the pandemic. The New Zealand government was lauded for the elimination strategy to keep COVID-19 out. Borders were closed, offshore-based visa applications processing was stopped, migrants in New Zealand were provided with support and extension of their temporary visas to stay in the country. Many offshore INZ offices were closed in order to consolidate all processing within New Zealand.
Skilled Migrant Category EOI selections were paused which put many skilled workers on Temporary Work Visa in New Zealand in a state of limbo. EOIs piled since March 2020 along with thousands of undecided SMC Resident Visa applications. Many of these skilled workers have also been separated from their families due to the border closure and subsequent halt on processing offshore applications. A mass exodus of skilled workers was speculated as they found no hope in remaining in New Zealand.
The Remarkable News
On 30 September 2021, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced a special Residency Visa for migrants currently in New Zealand. Faafoi said, "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 and continue driving the economic recovery."
He further goes on to say, “These people have all played an important role in keeping our country moving over the last 18 months”.
Why was this Residency introduced?
The country is experiencing a current skills shortage in many critical areas, which is being compounded by migrants leaving New Zealand due to no indication on the Residence pathway. The New Zealand government had little choice but to go above and beyond to keep the much-needed skilled migrant workers in New Zealand and retain their skills that are currently irreplaceable.
The New Zealand government understands and recognizes the contribution of the migrants in New Zealand’s economy well. It also realizes the uncertainty they’ve faced with closed borders and changes to immigration policies.
Certainty for Migrants
The 2021 Resident Visa aims to benefit around 165,000 migrants currently in New Zealand who will be able to live in New Zealand permanently. Most work visa holders and some critical purpose visitor visa holders may be eligible to apply for residence under the new residence category – the 2021 Resident Visa. This special visa will also cover eligible partners and dependents, both offshore and onshore.
A One-Off Residency Opportunity
This is a one-off residence opportunity as applications will be accepted until 31 July 2022. The eligibility criteria are not restricted to skilled occupations. The entire application process will be streamlined and online rather than paper-based. Application opens from 1 December 2021 onwards. It will be a fast-track visa, which means no processing delays. The processing of 2021 Resident Visa applications is a priority for Immigration New Zealand over the next 12 months. The Immigration Officers are especially being trained to process the applications for this residency category.
Why should you be cautious?
The deadline to apply is July 31, 2022. It's a good idea to get documentation checked and ready now itself in order to apply when the application process opens in 2 phases. This is especially true if any documentation must be obtained from outside New Zealand.
The Resident Visa for 2021 will not be available to everyone. If you are eligible, consider this may be the one-time chance to live permanently with your family in New Zealand. You wouldn’t like to take a chance on delaying or missing out on even a minute detail which can result in not getting the approval. Taking advice from a Licensed Immigration Advisor is important because this is a one-off opportunity and you do not want to gamble with your future in New Zealand.
If you have any questions about the 2021 Residence Visa, get in touch with us. Our team of Licensed Immigration Advisers and Ex-immigration Officers will endeavor to ensure your application is decision-ready and progresses as seamlessly as possible. Connect with us, have a no-obligation call and we'll be happy to assist you.
AJV Global is a New Zealand based ENZ-recognized company. We are an end-to-end education & migration company, with a highly qualified team of advisers licensed by the New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority and former immigration officers.
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