The current settings for the 2021 one off resident visa only capture people on certain visas. This petition is to expand that to all visa holders, including those on student visas and partnership visas, who meet the criteria as below:
1. Have lived in New Zealand for three or more years, or
2. Earn at or above the median wage ($27 per hour), or
3. Work in a role on a scarce list.
These people have been in New Zealand throughout the pandemic, many started out on one of the eligible visas and then transferred to other visas to improve their job prospects, decouple from a single employer and improve their chances of gaining points in the SMC category.
The Skilled Migrant Residency Category (SMC) asks if the applicant has studied a qualification in New Zealand and they gain points for this. Which is why many chose to move to further their studies at Bachelor level and above after losing jobs whilst on essential skills visas throughout covid.
Many of these people are highly skilled and valuable to New Zealand, working in essential services throughout the pandemic, and they deserve the same opportunity to put down roots and call New Zealand home as the other eligible visa categories.