New Zealand now in historic lock down

This is day one of our nation closing for the next 4 weeks (or longer). All Kiwis and visitors must stay at home and only go out for food shopping, prescriptions or exercise. We need to keep at least 2 metres distance from anyone who is not part of our household.

Only essential government services and businesses remain open.

What does this mean for our clients?

Residence applications already lodged

Immigration NZ (INZ) processing offices are all now closed. This means residence applications are not being processed until INZ staff can return to work (in at least 4 weeks’ time). There is nothing that can be done right now to move an application forward. People waiting on a residence application decision will need to be patient.

Residence application not yet lodged

Because INZ offices are closed paper based residence applications cannot be lodged. This may change if couriers can be delivered but right now there is no way to lodge an application. We are closely monitoring this situation.

If you have an Invitation to Apply for Residence (ITA) expiring in the next 4 to 8 weeks get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration now for advice.

Temporary visa application already lodged

A limited number of INZ staff can work remotely to process online temporary visa applications. Priority is given to essential workers required in New Zealand to help with the COVID-19 crisis (such as health workers).

Any other temporary visa applications will be delayed.

Anyone currently overseas wanting to get to New Zealand should significantly reduce any expectation to arrive while this lock down is in place due to the border closure and a trickle of flights landing here.

Renewing a temporary visa

If you are in New Zealand right now and your visa expires on or before 1 April 2020 you must apply now to extend the visa (plus those of your immediate family). Once you apply you will receive an interim visa that will keep you lawfully in New Zealand for now.

If you are in New Zealand right now; and still in the country on 2 April 2020; and your visa (plus those of your immediate family) expires between 2 April 2020 and 9 July 2020 you will automatically get a visa extension through to 25 September 2020. The new visa will be emailed to you (or to Malcolm Pacific Immigration in which case we will send it onto you).

Leaving New Zealand during the lock down

If you hold a temporary visa and intend to leave the country you should not have any expectation you can return until after the lock down and National State of Emergency has ended. Non-essential travel is not recommended under any circumstance.

Your job or pay conditions have changed due to the lock down

If you have lost your job or your employer has cut your pay or working hours this would normally have a serious impact on your work visa or residence application. However, this is a historic event and right now there is no clear answer for someone in this position. INZ has asked the government for direction. Until we have an official answer we cannot provide any clear immigration advice.

We strongly recommend you contact your Licensed Immigration Adviser at Malcolm Pacific Immigration to update them on the change in circumstances.

Malcolm Pacific Immigration

Our office might be closed but our team are working remotely, and our phones are answered 24/7. Call us anytime on 0800 800 612 or use our Contact page to get in touch

Whether in New Zealand or overseas Kia kaha (stay strong)

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