There is currently a lot of scaremongering in the media about immigration and applications being cancelled. Specifically, people are concerned that residence applications that are waiting to be processed will be cancelled. This is not the case. We have received a direct statement from the Minister of Immigration that residence applications currently with Immigration New Zealand will be processed. Due to the current situation there will be delays, but the applications will not be cancelled.
Immigration New Zealand are still accepting new applications. If you are thinking of putting your application on hold due to the border restrictions, please don’t. We recommend that you get your new applications in as soon as possible to avoid delays in the future. As restrictions loosen a backlog of applications will cause major delays so get your applications in now.
Immigration New Zealand continues to focus on immediate priorities. New information has been released relating to exceptions to border closures, workers in the healthcare sector and extensions for those who’s visas are expiring in the immediate future. See below for more information:
Exceptions to border closure
There are limited circumstances where Immigration New Zealand will grant entry during the border closure for those who are not NZ Citizens, Permanent residents or returning residents. Exceptional circumstances include:
- Humanitarian reasons – For humanitarian grounds the reasons must really be exceptional. Immigration will consider the person’s connection to New Zealand and to the place they are currently located, whether New Zealand is their primary place of residence, how long they have been away from New Zealand, what other options are available and the impact of not giving an exception.
- Health service workers – Employees of District Health Boards, NZ Blood Service, Hospice and palliative care, primary care practice/medical centres and aged and continuing care facilities in key roles such as Medical Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Technical/Scientific/Lab Staff and care and support workers (aged care, palliative and continued care). Partners and children travelling with health worker can also get exceptions.
- Other essential workers – Determined on a case by case basis but limited to workers in occupations which are critical to delivering the response to COVID-19 and/or maintaining critical infrastructure. Possibility for partners and children being included are dependent on each person’s circumstances.
- Citizens of Samoa and Tonga for essential travel to New Zealand.
- Visitor, student or work visa holders who normally live in New Zealand, and who are the partner or dependent of a temporary work or student visa holder who is currently in New Zealand.
People outside New Zealand need to make a request for travel here:
Students already employed in Healthcare roles
International students currently employed in healthcare roles who can only work 20 hours a week can now work full-time for the next 3 months (includes age care)
Low Skilled Health Care Workers
Those who are considered as low-skilled health care workers can now get an additional 12 months before a 12 month stand-down period applies. They are now eligible for 4 years total before a 12 month stand-down period applies, previously this was only 3 years.
Extension for those with visas expiring between 2 April to 9 July 2020
An automated process has been put in place for those currently in New Zealand with visas expiring between 2 April to 9 July 2020. All clients will receive an email starting today. All emails should be received before the end of Friday 3 April.
Immigration New Zealand have changed their definition or what is considered work to support supermarkets. The will allow:
- work visa holders to allow them to work in roles other than specified on their visa;
- student visa holders to allow them to work more than 20 hours per week
The definition of ‘supermarket’ is tightly defined, limited to retailers selling primarily food and groceries, who are affiliated with Woolworths New Zealand or Foodstuffs Limited.
Please get in touch if you have any questions during these uncertain times.
The New Zealand Government’s epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect on Thursday 2 April 2020.
Temporary visa holders inside New Zealand
- Temporary (work, student, visitor, interim and limited) visa holders expiring before 1 April 2020 who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply online for a new visa. An interim visa will be issued.
- Temporary visa holders due to expire between 1 April and 9 July 2020 will have their visas extended to late September. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.
Temporary visa holders outside New Zealand
- Those with a valid temporary visa outside New Zealand visa may be eligible for an exception if you work in the essential services