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 corporate clients?
Workers who have applied for Residence
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 for 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.
If any staff have an Invitation to Apply for Residence (ITA) expiring in the next 4 to 8 weeks tell them to get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration for advice.
Work visa application already lodged but not decided
A limited number of INZ staff can work remotely to process online temporary visa applications. Priority is being given only 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.
Staff with work visas about to expire
Workers who are in New Zealand right now and their visa expires on or before 1 April 2020 must apply now to extend the visa (plus those of their immediate family). Once they apply an interim visa is issued that will keep them lawfully in New Zealand for now.
Workers in New Zealand right now; and still in the country on 2 April 2020; and whose visa (plus those of their immediate family) expires between 2 April 2020 and 9 July 2020 will automatically get a visa extension through to 25 September 2020. The new visa will be emailed to your staff member (or to Malcolm Pacific Immigration in which case we will send it onto them and let you know).
We strongly encourage those staff to work with us now to apply for longer extensions on their visas. Visa applications are already backing up and the longer someone waits to apply the longer it will take them to get a new visa. Your business will not want to be waiting for visa approvals once you reopen.
Leaving New Zealand during the lock down
Anyone holding a temporary visa who intends to leave the country right now should not have any expectation they can return to New Zealand until after the lock down and National State of Emergency has ended. Non-essential travel is not recommended under any circumstance.
You have terminated staff who hold work visas or changed their pay conditions due to the lock down
Normally this would have serious consequences for someone who holds a work visa or has applied/intends to apply for residence. However, this is a historic event and right now there is no clear answer for anyone 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 any affected staff contact one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers to update them on the change in circumstances. See our team page https://www.malcolmpacific.com/malcolm-pacific-team
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 https://www.malcolmpacific.com/contact-us
Kia kaha (stay strong)