New Zealand announced on 30 September 2021, to offer a one-off residence visa pathway for around 165,000 migrants currently in New Zealand. The majority of applications are to be processed within 12 months of the category opening. Some critical-purpose visa holders, Partners, and dependents are also included as part of these residence applications. 

New Zealand Announced One-Off Simplified Pathway to Resident Visa to 165,000 Migrants


To be eligible for this one-off residence visa, one must have been in New Zealand specifically on 29 September 2021, or have applied for an eligible visa on or before 29th of  September 2021 that is later granted. Keep in mind that only eligible visa holders are allowed. They must also meet one of the three criteria:

  • Stayed in New Zealand for 3 or more years, or
  • Earn above the median wage  which is $27 per hour or more, or
  • Work in a role under the Long Term Skill Shortage List, or
  • Work as a personal caretaker or work in other critical health worker roles, or
  • Hold occupational registration and work in the education/health sector, or
  • Work in a specified role in the 
  • Medical certificates and chest X-ray certificates may be asked. 

If one meets the criteria for eligibility but is in Australia and has been unable to return to New Zealand by 29 September 2021, he/she may be considered eligible. New Zealand Immigration may ask for further information or documents as part of the application process. 

Eligible visas

On 29 September 2021, all residence applicants must have been or have applied for and later granted one of the subsequent New Zealand visas:

  • Post Study Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
  • Religious Worker 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.
  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV).

Short-term visa holders such as visitors, working holidaymakers, students, and seasonal workers are not eligible for it. Partners and dependent children can be included in residential applications. 

Applicants who have stayed in New Zealand for 3 or more years

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

  • have entered New Zealand on or before 29 September 2018, and
  • have stayed a minimum of 821 days in New Zealand between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021.

The time one has spent in New Zealand does not need to be continuous. If anyone needs to check how much time they have spent in New Zealand, they can request their travel movements from Immigration New Zealand. 

Applicants earning at or above the median wage

To be eligible under the criteria for residency, one must be earning the median wage which is NZD 27 per hour on the 29th of September 2021. 

Applicants working in a job on a scarce list

To be eligible under this criteria, one must be working in a job that is on a scarce list on 29 September 2021, which includes: 

  • Jobs listed under the Long Term Skill Shortage List.
  • Jobs requiring occupational registration in the health/education category.
  • Personal carer and other critical health workers.
  • Specified primary sector jobs. 

Application process

Applications for residence visas will be open in two phases. From 1 December 2021, it will be only for some eligible applicants and from 1 March 2022 for remaining eligible applicants. All applications must be submitted by the 31st of July 2022. Applicants must have fulfilled the eligibility criteria on 29 September 2021. One can apply online. Those who are eligible to apply for a residence visa from 1 December of this year will receive an email from Immigration authorities by the end of October month with details. It is expected that the maximum applications will be processed within a year, with most being processed much faster. 


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