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Immigration Update for Onshore Applicants

Immigration Update for Onshore Applicants

Posted on 20th January 2022 by Vanessa Godbaz Licensed Immigration Adviser

Immigration Law
  • Processing times 2021 Residence Visa

  • 2021 Interim Visa and associated risks

The current processing statistics for the 2021 Resident Visa as at Tuesday January 11 is as follows:

Applications received


Individual applicants received


Applications approved


Individual Applicants approved


Declined Applications



Whilst it is encouraging that there have been zero applications declined, the lack of progress is far more of a concern. Even given that there was a break of 4days over the Christmas period, that is a very small proportion of completed applications after one and a half months, with only another one and a half months to go before Phase 2 applicants can apply.

There has been a bottleneck with obtaining NZ Police clearance certificates; this issue is not going to magically disappear.

There are around half the number of Case Officers working on the 2021RV than what was stated. At last count

What will this mean for the 150,000-odd applications expected in March? Rocket science is not required here. Expect further delays of months, with many migrants still in limbo. The Immigration Minister’s touted processing time of ‘12 months, with most much quicker than that’ would appear to be simply more politico-speak, with no basis in reality.

2021 Interim Visa and associated risks

Allied to the above scenario is the decision made in late November to introduce a new 2021 Interim visa for those whose current visas expire while their residency application is assessed. Previously INZ had stated that you need to apply for further temporary visas to remain lawful.

Why did they do this? My guess is this was not introduced at the last minute to be ‘nice’. It would have been clear that the 2021RV visa processing times indicated were not possible, and this this was an easy way out to reduce further workload for INZ.

I believe this has given a false sense of security to some applicants and may not be the best choice. Here’s why:

1.       The 2021 interim visa puts you in a frozen state. You cannot apply for a new job for another employer and you cannot even be promoted by your current employer. You must retain the same role for the same employer until your residence is approved.

What happens in the case of redundancy or if the company goes under? There have been no policies developed around this.

What if you are on a student visa and want to work? Not possible. Likewise, what if a dependent child is on a visitor visa and comes of age to apply for a dependent child student visa? No policy given on this.

2.       You cannot travel out of the country and return whilst on a 2021 Interim Visa. It will become invalid as soon as you leave.

3.       If for any reason your 2021 Residence visa is declined, you only have 2 months before you need to leave the country. This is not enough time to lodge an appeal to the Immigration Protection Tribunal.

4.       The 2021 Interim Visa is only valid for 12 months. Given the clear issues already outlined with processing times, will this be enough time for you to obtain residency? Will it be extended? Once again, no policy.

Whilst the 2021 Interim Visa at face value appears to be a gift, I fear that further complications may arise for many, particularly Phase 2 applicants.

Everyone’s situation is unique and requires assessing from all angles. Please feel to contact me for a consultation on your particular case.