Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have announced some positive changes to border exception requests which will help some offshore work visa holders and partners of New Zealand citizens and residents.
New border exception category for some normally resident temporary work visa holders
A new border exception category has been introduced that will help some temporary work visa holders who were overseas when the New Zealand border closed but who have a strong on-going connection to New Zealand. This new category will enable a limited number to return to their home in New Zealand. Border exception requests will be available from October 2020.
People applying under this border exception must:
- have been living in New Zealand for at least two years (or one year in some specific cases), and
- be returning to the same job they held before departing New Zealand, or continue to operate a business in New Zealand as part of entrepreneur work visa, and
- have departed New Zealand on or after 1 December 2019, and
- have held either:
- a Work to Residence visa, or
- an Essential Skills visa (assessed as mid-skilled or higher-skilled) when they departed New Zealand and does not expire before the end of 2020 or, if it is expiring before end of 2020, they must have applied for a further visa on the basis of the same job when they left that allows them to remain in New Zealand for 12 months or more before 10 August 2020.
Anyone who is successful, will need to spend 14 days in managed isolation or quarantine. They will need to pay the relevant isolation fees, unless they left New Zealand before 19 March 2020.
Find out more from the NZ government website
Changes to border exception criteria for partners of New Zealand citizens and residents from visa waiver countries
This change is being implemented because the current border exceptions only allow for partners and dependents of New Zealand citizens and residents to be granted an exception to the border restrictions if they are travelling with their New Zealand citizen or resident family member, or have a relationship-based visa, or are ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
From early October 2020, however, partners of New Zealand citizens or residents from visa waiver countries who are granted this border exception will be invited to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor visa to travel. If granted, they will then be able to apply for a further visa, including a relationship-based visa, while in New Zealand.
Partners from visa waiver countries will be required to pay the NZD $45 travel request fee and the subsequent visa application fee. If successful, they will need to spend 14 days in managed isolation and quarantine and to cover the associated costs.
Find out more on the NZ government’s website.
Changes impacting offshore resident visa holders
INZ have announced they will extend the travel conditions of some offshore resident visas for 12 months and grant a new 12 month resident visa to holders of recently-expired resident visas.
- Those with travel conditions are about to expire will receive a 12 month extension to travel to New Zealand.
- Those whose travel conditions expired on or after 2 February 2020 will be issued a new visa valid for 12 months.
INZ will advise relevant visa holders by email by the end of September.
Anyone who has not been able to travel to New Zealand yet on their resident visa will still need to request a border exception to get entry to New Zealand and activate their visa for the first time.
If you have any questions regarding any of the changes, get in touch.