2021 Residence Visa Update: March 2022

Changes have been made since our last  blog about this visa in November 2021 and processing of our biggest ever one-off visas category is well under way. It would also be the most “tweaked” category we can remember in a long time!

  • On 30 November 2021 it was announced that those applying under 2021 Residence Category whose visa were expiring would automatically be granted interim visas valid for up to 12 months. Usually, interim visas last up to 6 months. That also suggests something about processing times!
  • In December 2021 it was announced that the older children of people eligible for the 2021 residence visa could undertake tertiary studies as domestic students for the current year.
  • In response to e-medical providers being swamped Immigration New Zealand announced that e-medicals would not be required to lodge applications but that these could be provided later.

Immigration Contact Centre staff have talked about receiving clarifications and “fixes” on a regular basis. Some clients are unsure whether to include partners they have been apart form due to covid. If you want to be sure that you application meets current requirements we’d be delighted to assist.

After its systems crashed when the first small batch of applications were made in December 2021, Immigration New Zealand made further changes

  • On 16 February 2022 Immigration New Zealand announced that all those with an EOI (Expression Interest) lodged before 29 September 2021 could lodge their applications before 1st March 2022 on invitation by Immigration New Zealand.  Around 10,500 people qualified.
  • Also, in February 2022 Immigration New Zealand announced that Phase 2 Applicants could lodge application on 1 March 2022 but that these would only be looked at from 31 March 2022 in order of date of visa expiry.  In other words, being first carries no advantage.  This is a big turnaround from the earlier messaging.

Processing to date

On 1 March 2022, once again there were problems with Immigration New Zealand’s on-line capacity.  Applications were slow to upload once they did, an old-style form similar to the old Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest Form emerged, with some questions (such as employment and education history, travel and family details) applying to only some applicants, depending on the country of citizenship. Only a passport sized photo and the INZ1242 declaration form can be uploaded at this stage with Immigration New Zealand saying it all contact application later for more evidence.  Given staff shortages and up to 100,000 applications, that could be some time away.  Yet the $2160 fee is still taken up front.

Key takeaways

This is still a great opportunity for many visa holders.  There are favorable interim visas and territory study conditions for those eligible to apply.

There however complications in other cases such as with families with some members overseas or couples who have spent only short period under one roof. It’s important to get good advice early if you have any possible concerns.

There are no guarantees on processing times despite these being priority visas and 4-6 months or more seems a real possibility.

We have already helped clients to successfully obtain their 2021 residence visas in Phase 1 and we are currently helping dozens of others in Phase 2.  Email or send us an enquiry form  if we can help you too.