Immigration New Zealand has just released more clarification (as at 16 May 2017) with regards to what they have entitled the South Island Contribution Resident Visa (‘SIC-RV’).
Briefly, this initiative provides a path to residency for those migrants who have worked in the South Island for five years and commit to doing so for another two.
Based on the recent INZ communique, the following provides answers to the most common questions:
When can we apply for it?
As long as you meet all the qualifying application conditions, you can apply for the SIC-RV within a one year period between 22/5/2017 and 22/05/2018.
What are the conditions?
At time of application you need to:
- have worked in the South Island for the past 5 years (between 22/02/2012 and 22/05/2017) under one or more essential skills work visa(s).
- A variation of this is allowable for time spent in the North Island as long as you’ve worked no more than three months in a calendar year, and no more than 12 months in total across the 5 years.
- Some leniency might be extended at the Visa officer’s discretion.
- be less than 55 years of age
- be working in the South Island or have an offer of employment for South Island
- meet all the standard conditions that apply for you, when applying for a work visa (for example, health and character requirements- including, for Filipino migrants, a false document waiver per 2015 announcement)
- be paid at the industry, regional market rate and your wages payments must be actual salary payments (non-cash benefits, including accommodation, will not be considered part of the market rate)
- have an employer who is compliant and not have material infringement records with the Labour Inspectorate.
- stay in the same region for 24 months once the SIC visa is issued
- For the purposes of these instructions, region means one of the seven South Island regions – Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson, Otago, Southland, Tasman, and West Coast – so you cannot move between the regions.
- apply for the SIC visa between 22/5/2017 and 22/5/2018; no applications after that date will be considered 23/05/2018.
Can I include my family with this visa?
- Yes, your spouse will be entitled to an open work visa and all dependent children will be able to get the required visas (study, etc.). After the 24 months’ period, they too will be eligible for permanent residency.
I have worked for 4 years in the South Island and for 5 months in the North Island. Can I apply?
- It’s up to the visa officer to determine if you are eligible but the INZ approach is not to be unduly harsh so it is worth attempting in cases where you’ve worked marginally less than 5 years in the South Island and the time you’ve worked in the North Island is within the guidelines mentioned in the first point above
What happens at the end of the SIC visa (24 months) if I have complied with everything during that time?
- The employer/ region specific conditions will be removed and you will be eligible for permanent residency.
How much will it cost to have FRENZ process my visa?
- For all our current or previous clients, who have completed their contract with us, we are offering a special discounted fee.