Visa expiry dates and border exemptions
Visa expiry dates and border exemptions
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have made numerous policy changes in the last few months in an attempt to alleviate the pressure felt by those stuck in (and outside) of New Zealand. It is hard to keep up with these changes and to understand how to apply these, so below is a summary of the latest announcements with regards to visa expiry dates and the border exemptions.
Work Visas expiring between 10th July and 31st December will get an automatic six-month extension
This is relevant only to those who have a work visa that were granted under the Work to Residence or Essential Skills policy. This extension does not apply to those who have a visa granted via the Specific Purpose policy, Working Holiday Visa scheme or Partnership policy. The extension granted will be six months from the end date of the current work visa e.g. if a work visa is due to expire on 31 December, then the new expiry date will be 30 June 2021. This includes those work visa holders who had their visa automatically extended earlier in the year to 25 September 2020.
People who can come to New Zealand
Whilst our borders are closed, only the following people may travel to New Zealand without having to request permission:
- New Zealand citizens and residents;
- Partners and dependent children who already have a visa based on their relationship with the New Zealand citizen or resident.
Anyone else should seek approval before travelling to New Zealand.
Who should get approval before travelling to New Zealand?
- Other Critical Workers – this is a new category recently added to the list of those who can apply for the border exemption, see below for further information.
- Partners, dependent children (aged 19 years or under) or legal guardians of New Zealand citizens or residents who do not hold a visa based on their relationship and either:
- are travelling with their New Zealand citizen or resident family member, or
- ordinarily reside in New Zealand.
- Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand;
- Critical health workers;
- Samoan and Tongan citizens making essential travel which has been agreed to by their government and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade;
- Partners and dependent children (aged 19 years and under) of a work, student or visitor visa holder in New Zealand who hold a valid visa and are normally resident in New Zealand;
- Critical humanitarian travel.
The above categories apply to people who do and don't already have a temporary visa.
Other Critical Workers (previously known as Other Essential workers)
New Zealand employers can put in a request to bring critical workers into New Zealand despite the border closure. This request needs to be supported by the employer (not the worker) and can be considered for short-term or long-term projects or job offers.
The criteria that Immigration New Zealand use to consider these requests are:
- If the person has specialist skills that are not obtainable in New Zealand;
- The person is coming in to work on a government approved program;
- The person is coming in to work on an approved major infrastructure project;
- The work they are coming in to do is time-critical;
- They earn more than twice the median salary (currently the median salary is $53,040 p/a or $25.50 p/hr).
If the request is approved, then INZ will invite the critical worker to apply for a visa or continue to process an application that may already be lodged. Note that having a request approved, does not necessarily mean that the visa will be approved. We are being told that a very low number of exemptions are being approved. The current timeframe to get a response from INZ regarding a request is roughly five weeks (despite the INZ website suggesting two days).
If you need advice on how to go about requesting an exemption for a critical worker, we can help you with this.
Please contact KPMG’s Immigration Manager, Caren Donald here or by phone +649 363 3489.