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COVID-19/Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

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Updated 28 January 2021

Are visas still being processed by Immigration New Zealand?

Yes. INZ is currently processing all categories of applications from onshore applicants, including residence applications. Only a small selection of offshore applications who meet the border restrictions exemption criteria may be processed, as well as certain residence-class applications.

We are preparing and lodging applications daily. Ensuring your visa applications are lodged with Immigration at earliest opportunity has several benefits:

  • Sooner in the queue means the sooner it will be allocated to an INZ case officer for a decision
  • Your visa will be subject to the immigration NZ rules at the time of visa lodgement. This protects against any future changes made by Immigration NZ

Note that certain categories have been suspended. This includes the ballot registrations for the Samoan Quota and Pacific Access Category, and the 19 capped working holiday scheme arrangements that were due to open in the next six months.

Selections for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and the Parent Category have also been suspended, until early April 2021.

My temporary visa is expiring soon, what can I do?

The Government automatically extended onshore visitor visas that are due to expire between 4 September and the end of October 2020 by five months.

If your employer-assisted work visa expires from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021, it will be automatically extended by 6 months from its expiry date. Visas held by your partner and dependent child(ren) will also be extended, in line with the principal applicant.

I am in New Zealand and have a job offer, can I apply for a work visa?

Yes. And if your current visa expires before the work visa is approved, you will be given an interim visa in the meantime to allow you to remain in New Zealand lawfully until a decision is made on the new application, or to a maximum of 6 months. Contact us for more information

I am outside of New Zealand and have a job offer, can I apply for a work visa?

There are certain cases for “critical workers” where you will be allowed to apply for a visa and travel. If you do not meet the exemption criteria, you may not be able to seek a work visa from offshore. See this page for details

Travel restrictions and self-isolation requirements

All arrivals into New Zealand must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and follow a 2-week quarantine. These were adopted by the New Zealand Government as precautionary measures against the virus and are meant to limit its spread. Once in the country, recommendations are common-sense and revolve around limiting contact with other people, other than family members. The Government also requests a negative COVID test for travellers arriving from overseas (except a few exceptions), from 25 January 2021

What if I am unwell?

You should contact the New Zealand Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (free number) if you are unwell. The symptoms of Coronavirus include cough, fever, and shortness of breath. You should mention that you are in self-isolation, if that is the case.

Any major changes to New Zealand immigration policy as a result of the pandemic?

With regards to general immigration policy as a result of the virus, we do not foresee the government making any drastic changes other than what they have already in the past 6 months. However, the situation changes daily and we will provide updates as we receive them. An increase of the minimum threshold for certain work visas, to $27/hour, is anticipated in July 2021, along with a new accreditation scheme for companies, and a complete overhaul of employer-assisted work visas.

Planning for the next step

Use the next few months wisely and start preparing for your migration to New Zealand now. Once the borders open there will be a large influx of migrants wanting to move to New Zealand. Get in front of the game to enhance your chances. Ask our team for a migration plan and get an eligibility assessment here.


Committed to excellence: our consultants are Licensed New Zealand Immigration Advisers