COVID-19 – Immigration Update

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 as we move from Alert Level 4 into Alert Level 3. Some non-essential businesses will remain closed and people are still required to work from home where possible. 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.

All Pathways’ staff are now working from home as per our Government’s directive. However you will not notice any change as all telephone calls and emails will be received and responded to exactly as they would be normally. Visa enquiries and visa application work and lodgements will also continue as normal. The only difference is that our Hamilton and Wellington offices are not open to the public. These changes will not compromise our ability to continue to deliver the high quality, trusted and expert immigration services for which Pathways is reputed. Most of our work, including visa applications, is able to be undertaken by phone, video conference and email and it is not actually necessary to meet in person (although in normal circumstances this is always our preference).

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.

Immigration Factsheets – May 2020

Expired and invalid visas: What to do if you are unlawfully in New Zealand

In March, the Government issued an Epidemic Management Notice, meaning those whose visa expiry date falls between 2 April and 9 July 2020 (inclusive), have received an automatic visa extension until 25 September 2020. This extension has been applied to approximately 85,000 New Zealand temporary visa holders. However, if your visa expired on 1 April or earlier, you have not received the automatic extension and your status in New Zealand is unlawful…

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Government to get super powers to address COVID-19 immigration issues

The Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Bill 2020, passed on 15 May, gives the Government greater flexibility and capacity to respond to the immigration challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The powers set out in the Bill are specifically for the purposes of addressing the COVID-19 outbreak and because the powers proposed are extraordinary, and only for a specified purpose, the powers are time-limited. These newly bestowed powers cannot be used to materially disadvantage visa holders.

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Essential workers can vary their visa conditions to help fight COVID-19 

Temporary migrant workers and international students, who are already employed in essential services, are now able to vary some of the conditions of their visa. This loosening of visa requirements is intended to make it easier for essential businesses and services to operate during the COVID-19 response. It will allow essential businesses and service providers to maintain their labour pool during a time when new recruitment is very difficult.

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Skilled Migrant and Parent Category EOI draws postponed due to COVID-19

INZ have announced the deferral of Expression of Interest (EOI) selections for Skilled Migrant Category and Parent Category residence visas. This decision, a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak, is a temporary measure. INZ have stated that this situation will be reassessed as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold.

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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.

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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.

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