Light at the end of the tunnel for New Zealand border

Many New Zealanders around the world who have been trying, unsuccessfully, to return home, will be breathing a sigh of relief following the New Zealand government’s announcement today on the changes to Managed Isolation and Quarantine (“MIQ”).

Businesses and migrants will also be looking positively to the staged wider reopening of the border. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today that MIQ would be removed and replaced with self-isolation at home, in 5 distinct stages beginning on 27 February 2022 and reopening New Zealand to the world by October 2022. An overview of the 5 stages is provided below.

In place of MIQ, travellers will instead be required to self-isolate at home for a period of 10 days with mandatory testing on Day 0 and Day 5. MIQ will remain for unvaccinated New Zealanders. Pre-departure Covid-19 testing will remain for all travellers to New Zealand, unless exempt.

The change to MIQ is expected to alleviate some of the significant pressure currently on New Zealand’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine system that has restricted many from entering New Zealand.

The new Employer Supported Work Visa framework comes into effect on 4 July 2022 and will replace the existing border exception system for critical workers. To support an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), employers must first be Accredited under the new framework. Applications are currently scheduled to open for Employer Accreditation under the new system from 9 May 2022.

Working Holidays Schemes are expected to reopen in a staged manner from Sunday, 13 March at 11:59pm. However, the staging and timing of the reopening is yet to be confirmed.

For those migrants offshore looking to travel to New Zealand and who require a visa but do not meet the requirements of the critical worker border exception framework, the New Zealand visa application system is expected to resume from approximately mid-2022. Further information is expected to be announced by the Immigration Minister in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions on the updates provided, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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