Further easing of border restrictions

We have had some positive news from the New Zealand government in response to the need for certain sectors of the economy to source skilled and critical workers from overseas.

The creation of a "Trans-Tasman" bubble means a quarantine-free travel area between Australia and New Zealand. As an estimated 40% of isolation spaces were occupied by travellers from Australia, the bubble has freed up availability for other travellers to come to New Zealand. This has also prompted the Government to look into which categories of workers to prioritise.

“It has given us flexibility to expand our engagement with the rest of the world on a targeted basis and attract skills and people needed to drive our economic recovery, while carefully managing risks of bringing in COVID-19"

Hon. Chris Hipkins, COVID-19 Response Minister

500 ‘large group’ spaces will be opened up fortnightly over the next 10 months to allow more workers and their families to enter New Zealand. Currently this is restricted to specialised construction workers, RSE workers, international students and refuges.

In the construction sector, 300 spaces will open up between June and October 2021 for construction workers needed for major projects and in occupations such as Civil & structural engineering, project management and a range of specialist technical workers. Further to this, Immigration has renewed exceptions for shearers and rural mobile plant machinery operators.

Other exemptions include:

  • 300 Recognised Seasonal workers every month from June – total of 2,400 by March 2022
  • 400 international students for arrival in June for semester 2 – out of the 1,000 previously announced
  • 100 refugees every six weeks from July 2021

This is a positive move from the Government, and we hope that more categories will open up in due course to allow a much wider range of skills to reach New Zealand shores.