March 20, 2020

Temporary border closure - useful information

New Zealand closed the border to most travellers at 23.59 on Thursday, 19 March 2020. Who can still enter New Zealand? The following people can still travel...
Temporary border closure - useful information
Temporary border closure - useful information

New Zealand closed the border to most travellers at 23.59 on Thursday, 19 March 2020.

Who can still enter New Zealand?

The following people can still travel to New Zealand:

  • New Zealand citizens.
  • New Zealand resident and permanent New Zealand resident visa holders (provided travel conditions on the visa are still valid).
  • The partner, dependent children or legal guardian travelling with a New Zealand citizen, resident or permanent resident visa holder.
  • Australian citizens and Australian permanent resident visa holders whose primary place of residence is New Zealand.
  • Aircraft and marine crew.
  • Armed Forces who hold a residence class visa and are travelling on military craft or transporting members of the Armed Forces.
  • Diplomats accredited to New Zealand.

Note: Anyone offshore holding a residence class visa who has not activated the visa by arriving in New Zealand for the first time before the border closed cannot travel to New Zealand at this time. Take advice.

Any exceptions to this travel ban?

There are some exceptions**

  • Humanitarian reasons.
  • Essential health workers approved by the Ministry of Health.
  • Other essential workers approved by the New Zealand government.
  • Citizens of Samoa and Tonga for essential travel to New Zealand.
  • Partners and dependents of temporary work or student visa holders who normally live in New Zealand and the temporary work or student visa holder is currently in New Zealand.

** Note: These exceptions will be assessed on a case by case basis and approval to travel should be secured before boarding an aircraft to New Zealand. Take advice from Malcolm Pacific Immigration.

Who can transit via New Zealand on the way to another country?

Transiting via New Zealand has been temporarily suspended except for Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and their immediate family (partners, minor dependents and legal guardians) where Australia is the final destination. Anyone else wanting to transit via New Zealand for humanitarian reasons should take advice.

I have people overseas who have applied for a work visa to join our firm. What is happening?

Immigration NZ (INZ) are still processing visa applications. There will be delays due to the temporary closure of INZ offices in Beijing, Manila and Mumbai. Unless there are exceptional reasons once a visa is issued they cannot travel to New Zealand until this travel ban is lifted.

Leaving the visa application in the system to move forward does mean once the border reopens you will get access to their skills quickly.

Keep calm. The team at Malcolm Pacific Immigration will keep you posted on the progress of any visa applications we are managing together along with any news on when the travel ban is lifted.

I employ staff on work visas. What should they do?

If a visa is going to expire in the next 3 months talk to us now. Because of visa processing delays it is much better to apply for a new visa early and not leave it to the last minute.

Staff must not let their visas expire under any circumstances. Talk to us now.

I may need to reduce my workforce including some staff holding work visas. What should I do?

Follow normal HR processes in regard any redundancies. Talk to your HR professional.

For staff holding a work visa our usual advice would be for those workers to find a new job as soon as possible and then we apply for a new work visa. However, these are unusual times. At the very least a visitor visa application can be lodged so they remain lawfully in New Zealand while looking for new employment or to make plans to return home once border restrictions are lifted in their home country.

INZ is getting advice from the government if they will allow flexibility for work visa holders to reduce working hours; change jobs/employers and any workers who cannot leave New Zealand due to border closures in their home country. Once we know more, we will pass on the news.

Staff must not let their visas expire under any circumstances. Talk to us now.

Some of my staff have applied for residence. What is happening to their applications?

INZ are still processing residence applications. This will only change if the government direct INZ to close their New Zealand offices and at that stage processing is likely to be suspended until INZ staff can return to work.

I have staff on work visas who want to travel overseas. Can they still travel?

The New Zealand Government has strongly advised against any non-essential travel. They are travelling at their own risk and would be prevented from returning to New Zealand. Our advice is stay here until this situation settles down.

Official health advice including how to self-isolate

Refer to the Ministry of Health https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Message from David Cooper, Director

Our amazing team have responded swiftly to the COVID – 19 situation implementing a robust health and safety plan. On Monday, 23 March we will all work from home to test our IT systems. Our offices will be closed on that day, but phones lines are open.

We ask anyone who has returned to New Zealand in the last 14 days to not come and see us. Please do not be offended if we ask you about your recent travel history.

Our people are working hard to keep clients calm and moving forward with their immigration plans. If we all remain calm, be kind to one another and work together we will get through this.

Kia kaha (stay strong).

Malcolm Pacific Immigration remains open

The team are here to help support you through these temporary measures. Call us on 24/7 on 0800 800 612.

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