The Government has announced a new faster timeline for reopening the border and reconnecting New Zealand with the world. New Zealand’s border will now be fully reopened by the end of July – three months earlier than originally planned.
Visitors applying from Pacific Island Forum countries (excluding Australia) will now be able to apply for visas from 16 May as entry to New Zealand from the Pacific is a Government priority. From 4 July all work visa categories will be open for applications, including the Accredited Employer Work Visa, and from 31 July all student and visitor visa categories will reopen. The maritime border will also reopen on 31 July.
In addition, most Work to Residence visa holders who were onshore on 9 May and whose visas are expiring on or before 31 December have had their visa extended by six months and two-year open work visas have been granted to Essential Skills, Post-Study Work and Partner of a New Zealand work visa holders who were also onshore on 9 May and whose visas are expiring on or before 31 December.
The Government has also announced changes designed to make it easier to attract and hire high-skilled migrants, while supporting some sectors to continue their shift away from relying on lower-skilled migrant workers.
This Immigration Re balance plan seeks to lift working conditions for everyone, improve career pathways for New Zealand and encourage businesses to focus on increasing productivity and resilience as part of our plans for economic recovery from COVID-19.
The changes include:
From 4 July
- The Accredited Employer Work Visa will include a median wage threshold.
- A green list will make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for high-skilled, hard-to-fill positions.
- New sector agreements to provide for short-term or ongoing need to access lower-paid migrants.
Hiring migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa
From September 2022
- Streamlined pathways to residence for migrants in green list occupations or paid twice the median wage.
From December 2022
- Most partners of temporary migrant workers will need to qualify for an Accredited Employer Work Visa in their own right, instead of automatically getting an open work visa
- Changes to post-study work rights and cost-of-living requirements for future students.
- During 2023 a new requirement will come into effect requiring employers to be accredited to employ any migrant.
Who can enter New Zealand now
The following people can enter New Zealand now from anywhere in the world and self-test on arrival:
- vaccinated and unvaccinated New Zealand citizens
- vaccinated and unvaccinated New Zealand residents
- vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents
- unvaccinated Australian citizens who live in New Zealand
- current temporary work and student visa holders with a valid visa who can still meet their visa requirements — this includes both visa holders currently offshore, and those in New Zealand who choose to travel overseas and wish to return
- up to 5,000 international students, for semester 2
- vaccinated travelers with a border exception
- vaccinated travelers on a working holiday scheme
- vaccinated travelers from countries who do not need a visa (visa waiver visitors)
- vaccinated travelers from other countries who already hold a valid visitor visa
- vaccinated travelers arriving under the Accredited Employer Work Visa category
- vaccinated travelers applying for a work visa in New Zealand.
Who can enter New Zealand later in 2022:
From 11:59pm Sunday 31 July 2022
From 11:59pm Sunday 31 July, all visa categories including tourist, visitor and student visas will reopen for applications for travellers from anywhere in the world.
Cruise ships can also enter New Zealand from 31 July 2022, with the re-opening of the maritime border to foreign-flagged vessels.
To enter New Zealand, you must meet some health requirements.
- You must be vaccinated.
- You must take 2 rapid antigen tests (RATs) on arrival.
- After you enter New Zealand you must do 2 rapid antigen tests (RATs) on Day 0/1 and Day 5/6 and declare your results. Children under 6 months do not need to be tested.
- All positive RATs must be registered and followed up with a PCR test.
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