S6 2021 Resident Visa – Details on this once in a lifetime visa opportunity articles


1 Nov 2021

Related Expertise

We have now received the full rules for the new S6 2021 Resident Visa. We will provide some of the details in this email but have more information in our video at https://youtu.be/q2G_lQrXMow as well as covering some questions in a live Q&A we will be conducting on Facebook tonight at 7pm. You can join that event here https://www.facebook.com/events/170790735253791/?ref=newsfeed as well as it being viewable on the Stace Hammond Facebook page after the event. With the amount of work we have, we won’t be doing many of these free sessions, as we want to focus on assisting our clients.

There are two pathways to residence under this new visa. We’ll cover them lightly in this email but be aware that there are several issues with the way the terms have been drafted. There are a lot of potholes there with many people, and even a lot of advisors and lawyers, may miss, so be very cautious with any application.

Three S Criteria

The first pathway is for those that fall under the three S criteria: Settled, Skilled and Scarce. Every applicant in this group needs to have been in NZ on 29 September 2021 unless they were stuck in Australia due to that bubble bursting (as long as you left NZ for Australia between certain dates).

If you were in New Zealand then you need to have been holding an eligible criteria on 29 September 2021. For most this will be covered by being on an essential skills work visa, work to residence visa, or post study work visa. There are several others than are also eligible, however any form of partnership visa or student visa are not included. You can also have had an application for an eligible visa in process on 29 September 2021 and, should that visa be granted, they will consider you as having an eligible visa on that date.

If you were in NZ, and held an eligible visa, then you need one of the S criteria

  1. Settled – This is the criteria that most people (around 70%) will fall under. It is for those who were in NZ on or before 29 September 2018, and were in NZ for at least 821 days between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021.  This should also include those who may have visited NZ at any point before that date, arrived again after that date, and still reached 821 days.
  2. Skilled – This is for those who held jobs that paid $27/h on 29th September 2021, or you had a job offer for such a job and were waiting for INZ to grant the visa or variation. You’ll need to show the pay rate, and we may need to work with you and your employer to make sure the documentation is correct, as there is some unclear wording in the rules on this.
  3. Scarce – This is for those who hold one of the jobs listed on one of the four scarce list. The rules require very little evidence to be provided but gives the immigration officer the opportunity to ask for more, and we expect that they will for many of you, so again we’ll be working with you and your employers to make sure the evidence provided is correct.


The other allowances are for those who enter NZ under a critical purpose visitor visa, granted either for a critical health worker or another critical worker, as long as the visa granted allows for six months work or more (there are some allowances for shorter work visas, but these situations will be rare). There is no need to have been in NZ on 29 September 2021 as long as you arrive before 31 July 2022 and apply before that date. CAP nurses can also be included if they gain registration and apply before 31 July 2022.

Other requirements

You won’t need to provide a police certificate from any country unless INZ believes there is a need for one. The NZ police certificate they will arrange themselves.

Everyone who has not provided a medical with a previous application in the last three years will need to provide a new limited medical. There has also been a substantial change in who can be included, with medical waivers available for MOST medical conditions by default, including cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, and some levels of intellectual disabilities. Most of these previously prevented many of you, or your families, from seeing residence as an option. With this visa, it has become an option, though possibly the ONLY time it will be. If this is you then we strongly recommend you engage us to handle the application.

Partners and dependents

Partners and dependents, including those offshore, can be included. Dependents who were included in an SMC or RFW application, or an EOI, and who are now 25 or older, can be included within their own separate application (NZ law prevents them from being included as a dependent in the main application) though this can’t be submitted until after the parent’s application has been granted, so timing is VERY important there.


The INZ cost has been set at $2,160. Those who already have an SMC application will get a partial refund, while those who have applied for RFW will need to pay the small difference in fee. One application fee will cover any partner and dependent children, except if the child is 25 or older, as they will be required to submit their own application and pay their own fee.


There are two phases.

  1. Phase 1 starts on 1 December 2021 and is open to those who have SMC or RFW application being processed, and those with EOIs that included children aged 17 or older on 29 September 2021. All other people who apply in that phase will be declined.
  2. Phase 2 starts on 1 March 2022 and ends 31 July 2022. This is open to every who is eligible but who was not eligible to be included in phase 1.

Stace Hammond Assistance

We are going to be able to assist with a certain number of clients, so that we can provide them with the assistance they deserve. The format of the new application is using the new INZ system, one that takes a step back from the old system in that it is less user friendly. This means that we will need to handle the full application for the client. However, as this is a new visa, with a lot of poorly drafted clauses in the instructions, having legal experts working on this one-of-a-kind application may be of benefit to many of you.

Our fees will be as follows, and are exclusive of GST or disbursements like the Immigration New Zealand fee:

Settled criteria application $2,800

All other applications $3,500

Including family (partner and/or children) $1,000 additional fee to cover administration of relationship documentation.

A retainer will be needed for us to start working for you. For those of you who have and SMC or RFW application submitted, this retainer will be less as you will have already paid most or all of the Immigration New Zealand fee. For others, the retainer will also include the Immigration New Zealand fee.

Any character or medical issues will be additional on a time and attendance basis. We will be sending this email our to several clients who fall into that area and while some should be able to easily include within the more open allowance, some may require arguments with Immigration New Zealand, especially for those who have family with lower-level intellectual impairments.


This is the most wide-ranging new visa that INZ have ever announced and, in doing so, they have rewritten many instructions. The above is a very quick review of the dozens of pages of new instructions and changes, but hopefully will give you a very broad level view of how it is supposed to work, and some of the issues. There are many more issues that we haven’t listed in here, but that we will be assisting clients with avoiding and resolving.

The new visa leaves it both wide open to allow more applicants to gain residence, but also to allow Immigration New Zealand to decline many of them depending on how applications are handled, and the instructions are interpreted. We strongly recommend that people seek legal advice on this application.

If you would like to us assist you with your application, then please let us know.

About the Authors

Arran Hunt


My practice is one where I deal daily with issues that touch my clients at very personal levels.  Issues of immigration and technology are changing...

Arran Hunt

Yuan Tian

Legal Assistant

I have an international viewpoint of legal practice, having a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from China University of Political Science and Law and a Master’s...

Yuan Tian


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