New bill announced giving government temporary visa law powers
The bill being introduced to Parliament today will support more “efficient management” of visa changes.
The bill introduces eight time-limited powers allowing it to:
- Impose, vary or cancel conditions for classes of temporary-entry visa holders
- Vary or cancel conditions for classes of resident-class visa holders
- Extend the expiry dates of visas for classes of people
- Grant visas to individuals and classes of people in the absence of an application
- Waive any regulatory requirements for certain classes of application
- Waive the requirement to obtain a transit visa
- Suspend the ability to make applications for visas or submit expressions of interest in applying for visas by classes of people
- Revoke the entry permission of people who arrive either on private aircraft or marine vessels (to align them with people who arrive on commercial flights, who can already be refused entry)
The changes will only be in place for 12 months. The changes give more power to the government to deal with applicants as a class or group of individuals.
Video update from our CEO, June Ranson
June gives her latest update on how migrants are being impacted and how NZ and the government will move forward. Subscribe to Woburn International’s channel to keep up to date as things are changing rapidly.
Video update from our CEO, June Ranson
June talks through the impacts for employers and migrants as well as giving further updates about the Immigration process as we move to alert level 3.
Video update from our CEO, June Ranson
June talks through recent changes and how they affect migrants and employers. Watch video below:
Relaxing of visa conditions
As of 16 April 2020 those migrants on student and work visas already employed in essential services will be able to vary their hours and be redeployed to do other roles within their current workplaces. They can also do their current role in different workplaces to help essential businesses keep operating. Changes of regions of employment will not be considered due to public health concerns.
This is only while New Zealand is at Alert Level 3 or 4 and six weeks after that and only for those working in essential services. A list of New Zealand’s essential sectors can be found here.
An electronic form will be made available on the Immigration New Zealand website to allow employers in essential businesses to notify Immigration New Zealand of any staff they believe are eligible to have their visas varied under these instructions. The variation of conditions will be for a time limited period of six weeks after New Zealand first moves to Level 2.
The six-week period following a reduction in the New Zealand Alert Level to Level 2 or below will enable employers to recruit local staff or retrain existing staff to meet changes in demand. This means it may be harder for migrants to gain additional visas in future due to predicted unemployment rates and an influx of New Zealand citizens and residents returning home.
Skilled Migrant Category selections deferred
The fortnightly selection of Expression of Interest (EOI) from the SMC pool will be deferred until further notice due to the difficulty in obtaining the required documents and evidence to submit an application and INZ’s limited visa processing capacity during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Parent Category selections deferred
The first draw for the new parent category was scheduled to take place in May 2020. This has also now been deferred until further notice due to the current situation. All those who submitted an EOI for the Parent Category will be notified about the changes.
These deferrals are for selections from the pool, you are still able to submit new expression of interests. We recommend getting your expression of interest into Immigration as soon as possible as the deferred draws will likely cause delays once the selection process reopens.
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