New Zealand has announced that around 165,000 migrants will be given a pathway to residence with the new Resident visa.
The new visa will be a one-off, and available to onshore skilled visa holders, including skilled migrants with Essential Skills, Work to Residence, and Post Study Work visas and their relatives.
Skilled migrants who enter New Zealand as critical workers for six months or longer until July 31, 2022 will also be eligible for the new Resident visa.
To qualify for New Zealand’s Resident visa, principal applicants must have been in New Zealand on September 29, 2021, and hold an eligible work visa.
Applicants must also satisfy one of the following criteria:
- Living in New Zealand for three years or more, or
- Earning above New Zealand’s median wage of $27 per hour, or
- Working in a role on New Zealand’s Long Term Skill Shortage List, or
- Holding occupational registration and work in New Zealand’s health or education sector, or
- Working in personal care or other critical health worker roles in New Zealand, or
- Working in a specified role in New Zealand’s primary industries.
Speaking on the New Zealand government’s decision to reward 165,000 onshore migrants with residency in the country, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said that the Resident visa would give skilled migrants certainty about their future in New Zealand and allow them to put down roots in the country.
He also said that the new visa would help reunite families who were separated by the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing border closures.
Mr Faafoi also spoke about how employers in New Zealand would benefit from having the opportunity to retain their settled and skilled migrant workers.
This would also allow them to continue to play a critical part in New Zealand’s economy, essential workforce, and communities, he said.
According to estimates by Immigration New Zealand, eligible visa holders will include more than 5,000 skilled migrants in health and aged care, around 9,000 primary industry workers, and over 800 teachers.
Moreover, a part of the 27,000 skilled migrant workers in New Zealand’s construction and manufacturing sectors will also be eligible for residency in New Zealand with the one-off Resident visa.
Mr Faafoi also said that this one-off residency visa initiative would allow the New Zealand government to work on the immigration system rebalance as the country prepares to reopen its borders for those who can live, work, and study in New Zealand.