24 March 2020
COVID-19: New Zealand Immigration Implications
The New Zealand government is increasing its alert level to the highest level, level 4, in response to the Covid-19 crisis from 11.59pm on Wednesday, 25 March 2020. This means that everyone is instructed to stay at home, businesses and educational facilities are closed (other than those deemed essential services) and travel will be severely limited. This will last for at least four weeks.
Under an epidemic notice, Immigration New Zealand have advised the following in relation to temporary visa holders:
- Those whose temporary visas (visitor, student, work) are expiring on or before 31 March 2020 must submit a new application before their current visa expires, or leave the country. In submitting a new application, an interim visa will be issued as per normal, which will allow those people to remain lawfully in the country whilst their new application remains pending.
- Those whose temporary visas (visitor, student, work) are due to expire between 1 April and 9 July 2020 will have their visas extended automatically until the end of September 2020.
Immigration New Zealand’s ability to continue processing any applications during the Level 4 status will be severely curtailed, and as such we advise that you should be prepared for delays across all visa categories.
Please note that the travel restrictions that have been in place since 11.59pm on Thursday, 19 March 2020 remain in force. In summary, New Zealand’s borders are closed to everyone except for:
- New Zealand citizens and resident visa holders with valid travel conditions (including Permanent Resident Visa holders)
- Partners and dependent children (up to age 24) of New Zealand citizen and resident visa holders with valid travel conditions, providing they are travelling together as a group
- Australian citizens and permanent residents who are normally resident in New Zealand
- Some further exemptions in very limited situations
DISCLAIMER This information is current as of 24 March 2020 and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.