Border closure

While New Zealand has returned to life as normal the border remains closed to everyone other than New Zealand citizens or residents and a limited group of others.

There is a border exception process for critical workers, partners/children of New Zealand citizens or residents or where there is a clear humanitarian reason for being in New Zealand. This is not a walk in the park. The threshold to get an exception is set very high. Around 70% of critical worker requests are declined. Someone stuck overseas already holding an Essential Skills Work Visa wanting to get back to their job is unlikely to get a border exemption unless highly skilled.

A critical worker is described as:

  1. A health worker; or

  2. A person entering the country for less than 6 months with a unique skill set not available in New Zealand and completing a time critical role (e.g. installing/servicing major equipment, essential for a major infrastructure project etc); or

  3. A person entering the country for more than 6 months; must earn a minimum of NZD $106,080 per annum and have an essential role on a project in New Zealand that is either government funded or related or has significant wider benefits to the national or regional economy etc.

The border exemption process is complex. Consult a professional. Getting it wrong will cost your business time, money and risk the success of projects, new ventures or investments.

Employers are expected to pay the costs of managed isolation or quarantine for critical workers (and their families). Space is limited as New Zealanders are given priority. As part of the planning process factor in delays with available flights.


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