New Zealand and all of the world are experiencing an extraordinary event with COVID-19 and with this comes great uncertainty as to what the future holds. Here in New Zealand in particular within our migrant community, there will undoubtedly be ongoing anxiety. We know that there will be many concerns and with that a wide variety of questions as to how this fast-moving epidemic and with it, the associated potential financial crisis will affect visa holders.

To support our clients, the wider migrant community and their employers we have created this special COVID-19 Immigration Update page and we will update it regularly with the very latest information from INZ as well as our own informed opinion and what this means to you. Keep checking back for the very latest immigration news.


With over 125 years of combined immigration experience, the Pathways team are equipped and ready to guide you through your journey during these difficult times.

Our hearts and thoughts are with those people and businesses that have been affected by this worldwide outbreak and we strongly urge everyone in New Zealand to follow the Government guidelines to do what they can to minimise the impact to our country. On behalf of all of New Zealand, we extend our greatest of thanks to the selfless heroes who continue to work on the frontline in essential roles keeping us well, safe and fed.

Stay safe and look after yourself and those around you, in particular those who are most vulnerable.

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Immigration Factsheets – January 2021

Border exception for normally resident work visa holders comes into force

From 9 October 2020, some temporary work visa holders who normally live in New Zealand, and have strong, ongoing links to the country, will be permitted re-entry.


More border exceptions for critical roles

The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators.


Seasonal work visa available to more people

The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment.


Changes provide certainty for offshore resident visa holders

The Government is making changes to help new residents stuck offshore keep their residency status while COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place.


Border changes to help reunite New Zealanders with their loved ones

The Government is making changes to current border exception rules to allow some partners of New Zealand citizens and residents to be able to reunite in New Zealand.


New border exception for normally resident work visa holders

The Government is creating a new border exception category to enable the return of some temporary work visa holders who are overseas and have strong, ongoing links to New Zealand.


Suspension of offshore temporary visa applications

From 10 August 2020 to 9 November 2020, persons who are outside New Zealand will no longer be able to apply for a temporary entry class visa. There are some exceptions though.


Immigration Update – Current border status and visa policies

On 11 August, New Zealand had its first confirmed cases of community transmission in 102 days. As a result Auckland is at Alert Level 3, with the rest of the country at Alert Level 2.


Work Visa Changes effective 27 July 2020

A new Essential Skills Work Visa system will take effect from 27 July 2020. Starting 27 July 2020, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will no longer be using the ANZSCO skill levels for work visa applications.


Border Restrictions and Exceptions

The New Zealand Government has strengthened travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travellers from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).


Temporary Work Visas extended – and other short-term changes to visa settings

The Government has announced a myriad of changes to temporary work visa settings, including short-term changes.



We have compiled a repository of Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and New Zealand immigration policy. As more questions and answers are added, this page will be updated.