We are still seeing the effects of COVID-19 on immigration policy. The New Zealand border remains closed but the Government has started softening the travel restrictions and has also re-commenced processing some applications for migrants offshore. They key recent changes are:
- Some visitor visas expiring between 4 September and 31 October have been automatically extended for five months
- A new visitor visa category has been established for individuals in New Zealand who are genuinely unable to depart due to COVID-19
- The border exception criteria for critical workers has been amended, making it slightly easier to meet the criteria
- Immigration New Zealand has re-commenced processing of offshore relationship based visas which are supported by a New Zealand citizen or resident
The Government has also indicated that it will introduce a new border exception category for normally resident temporary work visa holders, however the related policy has not yet been released. The new exception should enable some offshore work visa holders to return to New Zealand.