In this article, we will explain how you can gain permanent residency in New Zealand. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the idea of living in New Zealand has likely become an increasingly attractive one for many. Indeed, many ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) have had the same idea and have bought up land and property in the South Pacific nation to provide a place of safety and solitude from the world. According to Forbes, the number of UHNWIs is expected to increase by 52% in the next five years. Even before the pandemic, ‘Silicon Valley’ billionaires were snapping up tracts of land in the ‘land of the long white cloud’. The reasons for the appeal of New Zealand are clear; it is a safe, prosperous country that is friendly and welcoming to immigrants. It also offers a relaxed and outdoor-oriented pace of life, great cuisine, and of course, a stunning environment of lakes, rivers, fiords, mountains, beaches, volcanoes, and other natural wonders. In this article, we will explain how you can gain permanent residency in New Zealand.
Permanent residence visas are available to migrants who have been living in the country for a period of two or more years. Under some visa categories, it is even possible to gain permanent residence immediately. There are several visa options that lead to permanent residence in New Zealand, as follows:
Rather like the Australian points-based system, skilled migrants have to score a minimum number of points (100 points currently) and submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) before being invited to apply for a visa (the current threshold for invitations is 160 points). Successful applicants will be able to live and work indefinitely in New Zealand. You can also include your partner/spouse and dependant children under the age of 24 on your application. Those who are 55 years or under with the strongest skills, qualifications, and work experience are most likely to qualify under this route. It is worth noting that a job offer of skilled employment will score an immediate 50 points, hence this offers a considerable advantage to applicants.
For partner’s of New Zealand residents, the New Zealand immigration service guidance states, “If you’re the partner of a New Zealand citizen or resident, you can apply to live in New Zealand permanently. If you’re granted residence, you can live, work and study in New Zealand indefinitely”. With an indefinite partner visa, you will be able to live, work, and study in New Zealand and bring your dependent children if they are aged 24 (they can be added to your application).
The guidance also states that if you have been living with your kiwi partner outside of New Zealand for five or more years, you also may be granted a permanent residence visa. In this situation, your partner will need to be either overseas when you apply or have been back in New Zealand for less than three months.
This route is available for those with a job offer for an occupation on the long-term skills shortage list. You will also need the work experience, qualifications and occupational registration for the role you have been offered. This visa does not provide immediate PR, but after two years, you can apply for an indefinite long-term skills shortage list resident visa. To gain an indefinite visa after two years, you must have “ongoing, full-time employment in an occupation that was on the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) at the time you were granted a work visa or an occupation that is on the LTSSL at the time you apply for residence”. Applicants also need a salary of at least NZ$45,000.
Under the parent retirement resident visa, parents with an adult child living in New Zealand who is a citizen or resident can apply to live in New Zealand permanently.
Apart from the relationship requirement, applicants need an annual income of NZ$60,000 in addition to NZ$1 million, which must be invested for a period of four years. They also need NZ$500,000 to cover their living costs. After four years, assuming the visa holder has fulfilled the investment requirement, they can then apply for permanent residence in NZ.
The talent (accredited employer) work visa enables those with the skills required by a New Zealand accredited employer to work towards permanent residency. The primary requirement for this visa is an offer of full-time employment from an accredited employer. Visa holders who are still working for the same employer after two years can then apply for permanent residence.
Children under 24 years of a New Zealand citizen or resident can apply to join their parent in New Zealand and remain indefinitely by applying for a dependant child resident visa. If awarded a visa, they will be able to work and study in New Zealand.
Under the Investor 2 resident visa route, experienced business people up to the age of 65 with at least NZD $3 million in investment funds can apply for indefinite residence in New Zealand. Rather like the skilled work visa, applicants need to first submit an Expression of Interest outlining their business experience and level of investment. Based on this submission, investors and their partner and children may then be invited to apply for residence. The number of Investor 2 resident visas is currently capped at 400 per year.
The above visa types are only some of those which provide immediate PR or a pathway towards it. There are other visas available for entrepreneurs, religious workers, investors with NZD$10m or more, parents, those with talent in arts/culture/sports, employees of relocating businesses, and several more. If you are unsure of the best route for you and your family towards permanent residence, speak to the NZ immigration service or an immigration lawyer who will be able to advise you.
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