The Covid-19 related border closure has ensured that emigration to New Zealand has almost come to a stop after March 2020. Even before that, the requirements for the different visa types that make it possible to emigrate to New Zealand were already tightening.
In the course of 2022 it will become clear what visa options will return for prospective emigrants. It is likely that when the different visa categories re-open for offshore applicants they will do so with changes in the requirements.
Skilled Migrant Category
The Skilled Migrant Category has traditionally been the category that allows most migrants to move to New Zealand. Emigration is possible on the basis of an offer from an employer in New Zealand, and the potential emigrant must be able to score a number of points based on age, education and experience. The SMC category has been closed since early 2020. It is unknown when this category will open again.
Entrepreneurs and investors
The Entrepreneur Work Visa category offers experienced entrepreneurs the opportunity to apply for a temporary work visa for New Zealand based on an investment in a New Zealand company. This temporary work visa can be extended and eventually converted into a Resident Visa. It is still unclear when this category will reopen to people who do not already live in New Zealand.
The Investor 1 and Investor 2 Resident Visa program offers investors an opportunity to qualify for a Resident Visa with a substantial investment in New Zealand. Both programs are officially open again since the end of 2021, but processing times are very long.
2021 Resident Visa
The 2021 Resident Visa was created to allow a large number of people already living in New Zealand on a temporary visa to qualify for a resident visa. It is expected that more than 165,000 people will be able to obtain residence through this programme. It is a one-time programme that ends on 31 July 2022. After July, the regular visa categories that make it possible to emigrate to New Zealand are expected to re-start.
Partners or parents of New Zealanders
For partners of New Zealanders (and residents)there are a number of different possibilities to apply for a visa. The length of the relationship is an important factor in deciding whether a tourist visa, temporary work visa or (permanent) Resident Visa application is applicable for a partner of a New Zealander.
Whether there will also be an opportunity in 2022 for parents of New Zealanders to apply for a Resident Visa is uncertain. This category has been closed since 2016. Spring 2020 was the intended reopening of the visa category, but that did not happen due to Covid-19.