Reopening of New Zealand’s Border Delayed
The Government’s plan to reopen New Zealand’s border has been postponed due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant. Plans to reopen the border will now be reviewed at the end of February 2022.
Stage one (of a three-staged approach) announced in November 2021 was due to commence on 16 January 2022. This would have permitted self-isolation on arrival in New Zealand rather than the mandatory stay in a Managed Isolation & Quarantine (MIQ) facility. Stage one applied to fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens/residents and other eligible travellers arriving from Australia.
MIQ Stay Extended
With plans now on hold, the current MIQ stay has also extended from 7 days to 10 days. Only those who have travelled to Australia between 24 November 2021 and before 22 December 2021 with booked return flights have been permitted to self-isolate without entering MIQ. Airlines are contacting affected people directly.
Stages two and three, to expand travel to New Zealand for the rest of the world, with no stay in MIQ, has also been put on hold.
Until the Government reviews its plan to reopen the border, everyone entering New Zealand will require a 10 day stay in an MIQ facility. Places in MIQ are still very limited, with the last release on 6 January for around 1,500 rooms and around 9,000 people competing for these spaces.
MIQ Releases and Eligibility
Standard MIQ releases are still occurring approximately every 1-3 weeks. The next release has not yet been announced.
Other than the standard MIQ releases there are two other ways to obtain a place in MIQ. Requirements however, are strict:
- Time sensitive allocation. This allocation process is ONLY for workers travelling to New Zealand to undertake time sensitive tasks in specified areas of work that will have significant consequences, whether human, social, environmental, or economic.
- Emergency allocations. This option is primarily for New Zealand citizens and residents ONLY. This covers New Zealand citizens or residents in urgent need to enter New Zealand for time critical medical treatment. It covers the following situations:
- The travel is required to ensure a child under 18 is provided with appropriate care, or
- New Zealand citizens or residents whose visa in their current location is due to expire or has expired, or
- Travel is required to care for or visit a relative with terminal illness or undergoing critical medical procedures, or for
- New Zealand citizens or residents who have suffered the bereavement of a close relative.
MIQ Emergency Allocation for Non-New Zealand Citizens
The only non-New Zealand citizens or residents who are eligible for emergency allocations are for people whose entry to New Zealand is time-critical for the purpose of commencing work that involves:
- Delivering a critical public or health and disability service, or
- Maintenance of essential infrastructure or lifeline utilities where its failure would result in significant harm or disruption to many New Zealanders.
People granted visas as critical health workers generally fall under the above criteria.
Processing Suspension – Temporary Visa Applications
While planned changes were announced for the need to stay in an MIQ facility on arrival, Immigration New Zealand has made no announcement as to when regular processing for temporary visa applications for people based offshore will begin.
The processing suspension is currently at least until 5 August 2022. This means to enter New Zealand before this time you must have a critical purpose.
About Woburn International
We are Licensed Immigration Advisers, licensed by the New Zealand Government to provide guidance and assistance to any person wishing to migrate to New Zealand.
Our team has extensive knowledge and experience in skilled migrant placements and regularly work with both employers and individuals who need assistance with immigration and relocation. If you are needing any relocation assistance please contact us, we have many years’ experience in this area and have a dedicated relocation team.
Be sure to follow Woburn International on Facebook for the latest information. We will keep you updated on the changing MIQ situation and all matters relating to permanent residency in New Zealand.
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