The Government's opened applications for the 'one-off-pathway' NZ resident visa for migrant families disrupted by Covid-19.
Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi said the new pathway would "help retain the skills New Zealand businesses need to support the economic recovery".
The Government estimates up to 15,000 migrants who have lived in New Zealand for the last three years or who work in skilled or scarce jobs, and were in New Zealand on 29 September 2021, will be able to apply in this "first round".
However, it’s estimated that around another 150,000 migrants could be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa in "Phase Two". That one will open for applications from March 1, 2022. Applications for both Phase One and Phase Two will be open until 31 July 2022.
"The Government has created this new one-off residence pathway recognising the immense contribution migrants have made to New Zealand during COVID-19 and appreciating the uncertainty they have faced with border restrictions," Faafoi said.
To be eligible for this first phase a person must also have already submitted either a:
- Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) application; or
- Residence from Work application; or
- SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) which includes dependent children who were 17 years or older as at 29 September 2021.
"We are expecting high demand in the first few weeks, with lots of people wanting to submit their application early, but we ask people to be patient," Faafoi said.
"We recognise that some of these individuals have been waiting for residence for a long time and are eager to get their applications in quickly, but they have plenty of time to apply."
Faafoi said the Government had been working hard to make sure the new 2021 Resident Visa application process is "simple, streamlined and easy for individuals"
"Immigration New Zealand is committed to processing the vast majority of these applications within 12 months, with some much sooner."
More information about the 2021 Resident Visa is available on the Immigration New Zealand website, including an eligibility checker, a “How to Apply” video, outlining the application process, and an Application Checklist.