Employers

Workers stuck overseas

There were around 10,000 work visa holders overseas when New Zealand closed the border in March. Most have not been able to get back to New Zealand and restart jobs. The government has just announced a pathway for a small group to apply for entry in October.

16/09/20201 min read
Workers stuck overseas


There were around 10,000 work visa holders overseas when New Zealand closed the border in March. Most have not been able to get back to New Zealand and restart jobs. The government has just announced a pathway for a small group to apply for entry in October.

The criteria are pretty tight. To qualify for a border exemption a person must:

  • Still have a valid job in NZ; and
  • Hold a work to residence visa or essential skills work visa not expiring before the end of 2020 OR already applied for a further visa on or before 10/08/2020; and
  • Left NZ on or after 01/12/2019; and
  • Lived in NZ for two years or more OR lived in NZ for a year or more and had their dependent children with them in NZ for at least 6 months or have parents or adult siblings ordinary resident in NZ or had applied for residence on or before 31/07/2020.

The government estimates around 850 people will meet this criteria.

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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.

16 May 22
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.
10 Feb 22
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.

16 Dec 21