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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...
March 20, 2020
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5
 min read
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 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 am overseas and applied for a temporary visa. 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 the visa is issued you will not be able to travel at this time.

Keep calm. The team at Malcolm Pacific Immigration will keep you posted on the progress of your application and any news on when this travel ban is lifted.


I am in New Zealand on a visitor, work or student visa. What should I do?

If your 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.

We know many countries have closed their borders and you may not be able to return home. Malcolm Pacific Immigration can find a solution.

Do not let your visa expire under any circumstances. Talk to us now.


I hold a work visa. I am worried I may lose my job due to a downturn in the economy. What should I do?

Our usual advice would be to find a new job as soon as possible and apply for a new work visa. However, these are unusual times. At the very least a visitor visa application can be lodged to keep you lawfully in New Zealand to give you time to look for new employment or make plans to return home once border restrictions are lifted in your 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.

Do not let your visa expire under any circumstances. Talk to us now.


I hold a student visa, but my studies have been interrupted by school or institutions closures. What should I do?

You must keep up your attendance while your place of study is open. If your school, polytechnic or university closes temporarily ask them to notify INZ so your attendance records at INZ are updated. Do not stop studying under any circumstances as this may affect future visa renewals.


I have applied for residence. What is happening with my application?

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 am in New Zealand holding a valid temporary visa and want to travel overseas. Can I still travel?

The New Zealand Government has strongly advised against any non-essential travel. You are travelling at your own risk and would be prevented from returning to New Zealand. Our advice is stay here until the situations 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.

Get started with a FREE consultation today

Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.

Get started with a FREE consultation today

Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.

Latest Updates

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Our team keep ahead of all the latest employment and immigration law developments and post updates regularly. Stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter and get these updates directly to your inbox.

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Migrant Worker Residence

Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.

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Skilled Migrants Opportunity

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The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.

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Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From 19 July 2021

  • The median wage used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications increases from $25.50 per hour to $27 per hour.
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July 12, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From 30 June 2021

  • Employer Accreditation and Approval in Principle applications are now closed.
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Read more here.

July 12, 2022
Update

Employer Accreditation Becomes Mandatory

Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.

July 8, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From mid-2020 (delayed)

  • Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that heavily rely on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism, and hospitality. Construction, horticulture, and viticulture may also be included.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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Skilled Migrant Changes

Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.

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July 12, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From 15 February 2021

  • Dairy Cattle Farmer job offers are now assessed by three new occupation descriptions: Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager. Pay rates and job tasks will determine how long a work visa is valid. Take advice.

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July 12, 2022
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Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.

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July 12, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From 7 October 2020

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Skilled Migrant Changes

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July 12, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From 27 July 2020

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July 12, 2022
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Skilled Migrant Changes

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July 12, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From 27 May 2020​

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Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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Skilled Migrant Changes

Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:

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Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From 24 February 2020

  • Wage or salary thresholds increase for Essential Skills Work Visas applications lodged on or after 24/02/2020 (labour market tested; read more here).
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Work Visa Rules

From 7 October 2019

  • Base salary to qualify for a Work to Residence Visa (WTR) supported by an accredited employer increases from $55,000 per annum to $79,560 per annum (or $38.25 per hour).
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July 12, 2022
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Skilled Migrant Changes

The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.

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July 12, 2022
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Work Visa Rules

From 1 November 2021

  • Work to Residence Visa (Accredited Employer and Long Term Skill Shortage) applications close.
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July 12, 2022
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Mandatory Vaccination Required for Travel

From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.

July 8, 2022
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Employer Accreditation

Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.

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2021 Resident Visa

Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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2021 Resident Visa

The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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2021 Resident Visa

The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:

  • Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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2021 Resident Visa

Is this the only requirement to qualify for residence? No. In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to be regarded as one of the following:

  1. Settled.
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  3. Scarce.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
Update

2021 Resident Visa

People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:

  • Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
Update

Critical Purpose Visitor Visas

A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
Update

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • July 4. Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.
  • July 31. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close.
  • August. Skilled Migrant Residence category scheduled to reopen.
  • August. A new pathway to residence for people earning 200% or more of the median wage.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

July 8, 2022
Update

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

July 8, 2022
Update

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
July 8, 2022
Update

The Green List

From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.

Read more here.

July 12, 2022
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