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Published on June 16th, 2020 | by john.weir

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The latest on emigration to New Zealand

The Minister of Immigration has announced changes to border exception criteria effective 18 June 2020. Below is a summary of the changes:   

  • Partners and dependants of New Zealand citizens and residents who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand or hold a visa on the basis of their relationship, will no longer need to travel with their New Zealand citizen or resident family member to be granted an exception.
  • A new maritime exception which will allow entry to those arriving by sea where there is a compelling need for the vessel to travel to New Zealand.
  • Extending the current exception for diplomats to include those who are taking up new posts in New Zealand.

There has also been an announcement around establishing a new criteria for ‘other essential worker’ exceptions and a new process for decisions which will now be made by Immigration New Zealand, in light of the emerging demand from employers and business for overseas workers.

From 18 June 2020 for ‘other essential workers’ who may meet exceptions to the border closure:

For a short-term role (less than six months):

  • The worker must have unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not obtainable in New Zealand, or
  • The work must be significant in terms of a major infrastructure project, or event of national or regional importance, or government approved programme, or in support of a government-to-government agreement, or have significant benefit to the national or regional economy, AND
  • The role must be time critical (eg if the person does not come to New Zealand, the project, work or event will cease or be severely compromised, or significant costs will be incurred),

For a longer-term role (more than six months), the worker must:

  • Meet one of the short-term criteria AND
  • Earn twice the median salary (as an indicator of high skills), or
  • Have a role that is essential for the completion or continuation of science programmes under a government funded or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships.
  • Have a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of a government approved event, or programme that is of major significance to New Zealand.

An application to be determined as an ‘essential worker’ may also request approval for the worker’s partner and dependent children. Anyone approved under the ‘essential worker category must secure a place in managed isolation or quarantine for 14 days, and the costs of that managed isolation or quarantine are to be met by the employer or sponsoring agency, or the individual.
 The Government will continue to review the way we manage our border as New Zealand recovers from COVID-19.



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