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How 'PR' works in NZ

One of the most confusing pieces of immigration policy is the difference between ‘Residence’ and ‘Permanent Residence’. We spend countless hours explaining this to clients simply because INZ have made it very difficult to understand. So in this week’s blog we are going to explain it for you, unravel the ...

Paul

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How 'PR' works in NZ

One of the most confusing pieces of immigration policy is the difference between ‘Residence’ and ‘Permanent Residence’. We spend countless hours explaining this to clients simply because INZ have made it very difficult to understand. So in this week’s blog we are going to explain it for you, unravel the ...

Paul

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How 'PR' works in NZ

Posted by Paul on July 12, 2013, 2:29 p.m. in Immigration

One of the most confusing pieces of Immigration Policy is the difference between ‘Residence’ and ‘Permanent Residence’. We spend countless hours explaining this to clients simply because INZ have made it rather difficult to understand.  So in this week’s blog we are going to explain it to you, unravel the mystery, tear down the myths and hopefully simplify what can be a pretty mind boggling set of rules.

Unlike many countries around the world, when you secure Residence of New Zealand it is exactly that – permanent. It doesn’t expire in five years, two years or two weeks and it doesn’t need to be renewed periodically. It also grants the holder essentially the same rights and privileges as a New Zealand citizen without having a passport of course. There are a few exceptions such as a 12 month stand down period before you can vote (after 12 months you can vote for whoever you want), a two year stand down on Student Loans and Social Welfare benefits and some restrictions on being able to represent New Zealand internationally for various sporting codes, however, these restrictions are few and far between.

Residents pay the same taxes, can buy the same houses and take advantage of the healthcare and education systems in the same way a citizen can. We are a pretty generous lot.

However, New Zealand does want you to commit in some way before they will make all of these things available to you permanently and this is where the difference between ‘Resident’ and ‘Permanent Resident’ Visas comes in.

So how does it all work?

The following rules apply to most application types however, there are some slight differences for Investor or Parent Category applicants. These come with some additional conditions which your adviser should explain to you.

When your application for Residence is approved the first thing you will be issued with is a Resident Visa. If this is granted offshore, all family members included in the original application must enter New Zealand within 12 months from the date that the visa is issued. This is called the ‘First Entry Before’ date and will be listed on the top right hand side of the Visa label. It is important to remember that all family members who were included in the original application must enter NZ at least once before this date or their Visa will lapse which means they will lose their Resident Visa entitlement. Having said that the family does not need to enter on the same date within that 12 months and can travel separately.

If your Resident Visa is issued when you are onshore then your Visa won’t have a ‘First Entry Before Date’ as you are already here.

The second condition contained within your Resident Visa (which is usually the one that confuses most people) is the “Expiry Date Travel”. This is usually valid for two years from the date of your first arrival. So when you and all of your family members included in the application make your first entry you will all be given further ‘Travel Conditions' (the ability to enter and exit NZ as a Resident) for two years from that date. As this date is not written down anywhere it’s important that you make a note of this somewhere.

If your Residence was approved whilst you were in New Zealand the two years starts on the day that your Resident Visa was issued as you have already ‘entered’ New Zealand.

The initial Resident Visa you have allows you to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely, so if you never left you could legally stay even if your two years’ worth of travel conditions came and went. However if you were to leave New Zealand after those two years and return your Residence would be deemed to have lapsed. 

This is where the Permanent Resident Visa comes into it.

A Permanent Resident Visa has the same rights and privileges as your Resident Visa however, the travel conditions (your ability to exit and re-enter NZ as a Resident) never expire. This is the ‘permanent’ part of the Visa. You can only apply for this at the end of the two years of your initial Resident Visa however, once you have it then you are essentially free to come and go and spend as much or as little time in New Zealand without jeopardising your ‘permanent residence’.

To qualify for a Permanent Resident Visa the principal applicant in the original application must satisfy one of five criteria. Generally it is only the principal applicant that must satisfy the criteria, however in some cases the other family members will need to have spent time in New Zealand.

The five criteria are as follows:

  • Significant period of time spent in New Zealand
  • Tax Resident status in New Zealand
  • Investment in New Zealand
  • Establishing a business in New Zealand
  • Establishing a ‘base’ in New Zealand

Explaining all five criteria would take a separate blog (for each) however the easiest one to meet and the one I will explain here is the first – significant period of time spent in New Zealand. In this case the principal applicant only must spend a period of 184 days in each of the two years from the date they first entered NZ. For example, if the whole family entered NZ on their initial Resident Visas (or were already here) on 01/01/14 then the principal applicant must spend:

  • 184 days in NZ between 01/01/14 and 31/12/14 and 
  • Another 184 days between 01/01/15 and 31/12/15. 

The 184 days does not need to be consecutive and can be broken up however, it must be 184 days in each year, e.g. you cannot combine the two 184 day periods into one year.

If you believe you may not qualify under this rule and would like to explore one of the other options you definitely need to speak to us. The other options can be complicated (not impossible) however we need to assess each situation carefully.

It is vital that you take steps to qualify for a Permanent Resident Visa within the original two year travel conditions; this will make your transition to Permanent Residence much smoother and less complicated. 

Remember that a Resident Visa allows you the same access to education and health services as an NZ citizen and once you have spent 12 months in New Zealand you can vote in local and National Elections.

You can only apply for Citizenship once you have resided in New Zealand for 5 years, can demonstrate you have settled and integrated, speak fluent English and this country is your home. Citizenship is decided on an individual basis – so it is not like a residence application which is a family affair in which if one qualifies all qualify. 

But that is a story for another day. We can assist you with your citizenship when the time comes but remind us in four and half year’s time.

Until next week – Paul Janssen (standing in for the Southern Man)

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26 comments on this post
July 12, 2013, 9:16 p.m. by Wee

Hi, thanks for this helpful blogpost!

just want to check if you mean to say:

184 days in NZ: 1/1/2014 and 31/12/2014 instead of 31/12/2015?

Replies to this comment

July 12, 2013, 9:26 p.m. by Paul Janssen
Well spotted! I have corrected...thanks for letting me know!
Reply to this comment
July 12, 2013, 9:44 p.m. by Kim Burgess

Thanks so much Paul! We will be applying for our PR in the near future :)

Reply to this comment
July 12, 2013, 11:02 p.m. by Suresh Thiagarajah

Thanks for the great information Paul. Im waiting for my PR, hope to get it soon. Cant wait to come over to NZ. Cheers. :)

Reply to this comment
July 12, 2013, 11:34 p.m. by terry rudden

Thanks Paul

Your article couldn't have come at a better time - just received our PR status - certainly cleared this up for us.

Reply to this comment
July 12, 2013, 11:42 p.m. by Himanshu

Also, keep in mind that it's 240days per year for five years (1350days in total) for citizenship. So, better to make it 240days instead just 184days.

Reply to this comment
July 13, 2013, 12:52 a.m. by Eric le Roux

I work in the offshore industry and spend equal time offshore as I do on land.. I've been told that as long as I keep paying tax every month in NZ it can be counted towards my citizenship? Would this be considered?

Replies to this comment

July 13, 2013, 11:28 a.m. by Paul Janssen
We would need to have a closer look at this Eric. Perhaps you can call us to discuss further or use the Ask Us A Question feature on our website?
Reply to this comment
July 13, 2013, 5:12 a.m. by Ben Soh

Hi Paul, using your example, if for some reason it plays out for the main applicant and/or his family such that:
• 0 days in NZ: 01/01/2014 to 31/12/2014
• 184 days in NZ: 01/01/2015 to 31/12/2015

Can the main applicant apply for an extension to INZ to be allowed to reside the 2nd stint of 184 days in NZ: 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2016? And after completing this, then still be qualified to apply for PR?

Thanks mate!

Replies to this comment

July 13, 2013, 11:25 a.m. by Paul Janssen
Indeed you can. This is called an application for a variation of travel conditions giving you a third year.
Reply to this comment
July 13, 2013, 3:04 p.m. by James

Hi Paul, can ownership of a property in New Zealand be considered as establishing a 'base' or investing in New Zealand ? Thanks.

Replies to this comment

July 13, 2013, 3:39 p.m. by Paul Janssen
Hi all thanks for your comments. Unfortunately its a bit tricky to answer specific questions on this blog. You can use the Ask Us A Question service on thw website and we can help you work through your questions.
Reply to this comment
July 13, 2013, 4:35 p.m. by Jahangir Khan

Good and and helpfull information...

Reply to this comment
July 14, 2013, 12:30 p.m. by Hari

Hi,

Once I complete 184 days in the 2nd year, can I apply for the permanent residency or should I wait until the 2 year period to be completed?

Reply to this comment
July 14, 2013, 5:28 p.m. by Monir hossain

Hi,
Once I complete 184 days in the 2nd year, can I apply for the permanent residency or should I wait until the 2year period to be completed

Reply to this comment
July 15, 2013, 10:15 p.m. by RATNA PRASAD

Hi Ian

Apart from giving Seminars in South Africa,Singapore,Please see if you can make it to India,India was one of the Good Market.

Reply to this comment
July 15, 2013, 11:43 p.m. by NGEOW YEOK LAN

I am applying for the religious work visa.
What is the criteria of this type of application.
The Christian organization I have applied mention that I have to apply for my own visa. Can I forward the email message from this organization to support my visa application.
Appreciate to hear from you soon.
Thank you.
Regards,

Dolly Ngeow

Replies to this comment

July 17, 2013, 7:02 a.m. by Paul Janssen
Hi Dolly, I suggest you visit the Ask Us A Question service on our website or complete a full eligibility assessment so that we can gather enough information to answer your question accurately.
Reply to this comment
July 16, 2013, 10:25 p.m. by mahady

this is my dream from child life to live in a beautiful country that like NZ. but i know that i can,t it because i m a poor. every body ignore to poor always.after then i trying to go NZ. now its depend on my luck but i know if they want the NZ immigration can allow me and make my dream complete.

Reply to this comment
July 17, 2013, 1:22 p.m. by Mike Alty

A really informative article Paul. We are about to apply for permanent residence and this has cleared up some questions and given peace of mind. Articles like this should be in your pack you give to new clients if it isn't already. Maybe something on the citizenship rules should also be in that pack as for some of us attaining NZ citizenship is very important.

Replies to this comment

July 17, 2013, 1:26 p.m. by Paul Janssen
Thanks Mike, it has certainly drawn some attention. We are now sending a very similar overview to all clients once they have been approved so hopefully everyone will be better informed.
Reply to this comment
July 27, 2013, 3:32 p.m. by Derix Suartyo

I've been reading your blog since the past 1.5 years as we are preparing our move to NZ. Your blog is very informative, and this post is definitely one of them :) i'm glad that I made a right choice to follow your blog :)

Reply to this comment
July 28, 2013, 10:14 a.m. by yannerwansyah

Thanks very much for all of yours support and attention.

Reply to this comment
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Nov. 21, 2014, 6:59 p.m. by Ashleigh

We have lived in NZ on my husbands work visa for 3 years, the agency we are using seem to move the goal posts for us & tell us different things all the time.. I really don't feel right continuing with them, now we want to apply for our EOI & the invoice says : Lodgement of Expression of Interest 1700.00 + Government fee for EOI 510.00......... this is totally inflated as we could apply online for +- 500.00... Gosh this is too much I think, my husband seems to think we are safer if we go with an immigration agency.. (note this is a family run agency, they don't return our calls for days... just seems dodgy to me)

Reply to this comment
April 27, 2018, 11:26 p.m. by T w

Hi, does a permanent residency application require a good conduct certificate/ police certificate?

Are you able to enter NZ if your resident visa expired (but your pasaport allows entry to NZ for a visit)

If you are in NZ and have an expired resident visa less than 3 months expired, can u still apply permanent residency?

Reply to this comment
Sept. 21, 2018, 10:41 p.m. by Peter

Thanks Paul, this is valuable information, cheers

Reply to this comment
Jan. 31, 2019, 11:36 p.m. by Eve Hunt

I’m so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

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June 1, 2019, 4:05 p.m. by Alisha Ross

Hello, every time i used to check web site posts here in the early hours in the morning, because i enjoy to find out more and more.

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June 14, 2019, 7:20 p.m. by Jamiu Makinde

Thanks for the insight. My question goes thus, do skilled migrants category falls under permanent residence or just residence visa.

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