2021 Resident Visa – just what is happening?

Applications are open to everyone who qualifies for this once in a lifetime Resident Visa. There has been huge pressure on the system as people hopped online to lodge applications when Phase 2 opened on 1 March 2022. The Malcolm Pacific Immigration team has been under the pump lodging applications for our clients.

There are new developments worth noting.

Phase 1 applications continue to be processed*

Phase 1.5 applications continue to be processed*

Phase 2 applications will not be processed until the end of March 2022. At that point, applications will be allocated to Immigration Officers based on the applicant’s current visa expiry date. People with visas that expire in the next few months will get processed first. Someone with another couple of years left on their visa will be waiting longer. The date the application is lodged does not help the application get processed any faster.

When a 2021 Resident Visa has been lodged an Interim Visa is issued if someone’s current visa expires in the next 7 days. However, Interim Visas do limit the ability to change jobs, travel overseas and modify any conditions of a visa. In most cases applying for a new temporary visa and not relying on an Interim Visa is the right thing to do despite the additional costs in applying.

*Phase 1 and 1.5 applies to people who have lodged an Expression of Interest under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or a SMC residence application or a Work to Residence application before 29/09/2021.

With around 150,000 applicants expected to apply in Phase 2 people need to prepare for processing delays. Of course, if you have been waiting years to become a resident any more delay is frustrating. Our advice is to keep your eye on the final objective. It’s much more important to get the final approval than waiting just a bit longer.

In Phase 2 Immigration NZ is requesting the upload of supporting documents once the application is allocated to an Immigration Officer for assessment (not at lodgement). The main reason for processing delays are NZ police and security checks (for those who require them) which is out of the control of Immigration NZ. These checks are unavoidable – be patient.

Couples who have been separated for long periods of time (usually due to the border closure) or have not lived together for 12 months at the time of applying, there are emerging issues for recognition of these relationships meeting the “living together in a genuine and stable relationship for 12 months”. Some applications are running into problems. Take advice before applying.

A quick reminder of the eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa:

Were in NZ on 29/09/2021; and

Held an eligible visa on 29/09/2021 (or applied for one before 29/09/2021 that was later approved); and

Lived in NZ for 3 years or more, OR earning $27 an hour or more, OR working in a job on a scarce list.

Read more about the 2021 Resident visa here.

Applications close 31 July 2022. Don’t expect any extension to this deadline.

If you want to check out your eligibility for this visa contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration visit: www.malcolmpacific.com

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