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.


Pathways' Hamilton and Wellington offices are open. 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 – July 2020

Trackwork riders – urgent review of work visas required!

The Government has this week announced a range of work visa changes that will significantly, and adversely, impact on the New Zealand horse industry. The industry is already facing a range of challenges, apart from COVID-19, and these changes are another unwelcome and untimely addition.

The main change is that, from 27 July, any Essential Skills Work Visa application for employment in any role paying less than $25.50 per hour will be deemed to be a “low-paid” work visa and, if approved, only a 6-month work visa will be issued.


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

The Government has announced changes to temporary work visa settings:

1. All existing employer-assisted temporary work visas for people who are in New Zealand and whose visas are due to expire from 10 July to 31 December 2020, are extended by six months.
2. The introduction of the 12 month stand down period for workers who have been holding low-skilled work visas for 3 years has been delayed by 6 months.
3. The duration of all new low-skilled Essential Skills work visas has been reduced from 12 months to 6 months, to mitigate future labour market risks.


Work Visa Changes effective 27 July 2020!

A new Essential Skills Work Visa system will take effect from 27 July 2020.

Immediate Action!!
If you are an Essential Skills work visa holder and your payrate is between $21.68 per hour and $25.49 (inclusive) then you will only be issued a 6 month low-paid work visa if you apply for a new work visa from 27 July. If you can meet the current policy requirements for a mid-skilled work visa and apply for a new work visa before 27 July you can be issued a 3 year visa – and any family members will also get 3 year visas.


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).

INZ have announced immigration instructions, effective on and after 30 March 2020, to allow people not included, or excepted under the current travel ban, to be granted a visa or a Variation of Conditions to travel to New Zealand. Exceptions are only in place where there is a critical purpose for being in New Zealand.

All travellers must enter quarantine or managed self-isolation in a government-approved facility for 14 days upon arrival in New Zealand.


FURTHER Exceptions to border closure effective 18 June 2020

From 18 June 2020, partners and dependents of New Zealand citizens and residents, who have been separated from their New Zealand-resident relatives, may travel to New Zealand unaccompanied by their New Zealand citizen or resident partners. Until now, relatives of New Zealand citizens and residents have only been able to enter the country, if travelling with their New Zealand partner or parent.

The criteria for ‘other essential workers’ have also changed, allowing ‘high value workers on projects of national or regional significance’. INZ have advised of the scenarios in which an ‘other essential worker’ may be regarded as an exception to the border closure.



Pathways NZ has 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.