Unless you are a resident or citizen of New Zealand, only those with a critical purpose to travel are exempt from the current NZ border restrictions. This includes critical workers, dependent children, partners of NZ residents, and those who are exempt under special circumstances. Read on to learn whether you are eligible to travel to New Zealand during Covid-19 and discover what travel may look like in 2022.
Travel to New Zealand is currently very limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are a few exceptions in place for:
Currently, all residents and citizens of New Zealand are exempt from the NZ border restrictions. But, to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country, all New Zealanders must undergo 10 days of managed isolation on arrival.
Critical health and disability workers may travel to New Zealand during Covid-19 because their skills are vital to the country’s well-being. This includes registered health practitioners, technical & support staff, internationally qualified nurses (who meet eligibility rules), workers in charge of medical equipment, ambulance workers, and paramedics. Mental health workers and physician associates are also included in this category.
Some other critical workers outside of the health field are also allowed to travel to New Zealand during Covid-19. This may include short-term workers, long-term workers, and workers for an approved class. However, the employer must make the request for the critical worker to travel.
All critical workers require a border exemption to be approved and visas issued before travelling. Everyone will need to undergo managed isolation upon arrival in New Zealand.
With a NZ Partnership Vis, you can travel to New Zealand while the borders are closed. The same exception applies to those who hold a Dependent Child Visa in NZ. Dependent children and partners of New Zealanders are recognised by the Government as having a critical purpose to travel—but these visas aren’t always easy to get. We recommend talking to a licensed immigration adviser before applying for either visa.
In very special situations, you may be able to travel to New Zealand for compassionate reasons. However, cases like these are extremely limited. Immigration NZ is very strict about who they let in the country at this time and will usually only approve cases under ‘exceptional’ circumstances.
Travellers from countries that are considered Covid ‘low risk’ can travel to New Zealand during Covid-19. Currently, this includes the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
2021 was a challenge for many New Zealanders stuck overseas. Managed quarantine facilities have been fully booked for months, making it impossible for some New Zealanders to come home and see their loved ones. 2022 has not started well with future MIQ bookings suspended while the government delays the border reopening due to the arrival of Omicron. We hope to see the border reopen soon and MIQ replaced with home isolation for international arrivals. Watch this space for more updates once the government makes decisions.
The best place to keep up to date with the NZ government response to Covid-19, MIQ, pre-departure Covid testing and the constant changing settings is at www.covid19.govt.nz.
It’s never too early to start planning your trip to New Zealand, whether you’re visiting for the first time or moving to the country as a resident. As licensed immigration advisers in NZ, we understand the complexities of the immigration process and are here to help. Get in touch with our team today for expert visa assistance
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.
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.
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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.
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.
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.
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.
From 19 July 2021
From 30 June 2021
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.
From mid-2020 (delayed)
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.
From 15 February 2021
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.
From 7 October 2020
The government added four new occupations that are now regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. These are:
Aged or disabled carer, Bicycle mechanic, Driller and Nursing Support worker.
From 27 July 2020
Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.
From 27 May 2020
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.
Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:
From 24 February 2020
From 7 October 2019
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.
From 1 November 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
The work visa categories set to close are:
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.