Skip to main content
Global Services

Update: Light at the end of the tunnel for New Zealand border restrictions

By 3 February 2022No Comments

Many New Zealanders around the world who have been trying, unsuccessfully, to return home, will be breathing a sigh of relief following the New Zealand government’s announcement today on the changes to Managed Isolation and Quarantine (“MIQ”).  Businesses and migrants will also be looking positively to the staged wider reopening of the border.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today that MIQ would be removed and replaced with self-isolation at home, in 5 distinct stages beginning on 27 February 2022 and reopening New Zealand to the world by October 2022.  An overview of the 5 stages is provided below.

Stage 1

27 February 2022

Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers such as holders of a Critical Purpose visa arriving from Australia can travel to New Zealand from 11:59pm on Sunday, 27 February 2022 without the need to enter MIQ.


Stage 2

13 March 2022

Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers from all other countries can travel to New Zealand from 11:59pm on Sunday, 13 March 2022 without the need to enter MIQ.

The border exeption framework will be adjusted to allow critical workers earning $40.50/hour or $84,240 per annum (currently $106,080 per annum) and their dependent family to be able to enter New Zealand with no requirement to evidence the skills are not available in New Zealand. This also applies to offshore dependent family of critical workers already in New Zealand.


Stage 3

12 April 2022

Up to 5,000 international students will be able to enter New Zealand ahead of Semester 2 from 12 April 2022.

Further changes will be made to the border exception framework to expand the workforce class exceptions, events and government approved programme lists as needed.


Stage 4

July 2022

Australian citizens, permanent residents and other travellers from Australia as well as Accredited Employer Work Visa Holders and Visitors from Visa Waiver countries will be able to enter New Zealand without the need to enter MIQ from July 2022 at the latest.  It is possible this date will be moved forward.


Stage 5

October 2022

The New Zealand border will reopen in full to all travellers.


In place of MIQ, travellers will instead be required to self-isolate at home for a period of 10 days with mandatory testing on Day 0 and Day 5.  MIQ will remain for unvaccinated New Zealanders. Pre-departure Covid-19 testing will remain for all travellers to New Zealand, unless exempt.

The change to MIQ is expected to alleviate some of the significant pressure currently on New Zealand’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine system that has restricted many from entering New Zealand.

The new Employer Supported Work Visa framework comes into effect on 4 July 2022 and will replace the existing border exception system for critical workers.  To support an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), employers must first be Accredited under the new framework. Applications are currently scheduled to open for Employer Accreditation under the new system from 9 May 2022.

Working Holidays Schemes are expected to reopen in a staged manner from Sunday, 13 March at 11:59pm. However, the staging and timing of the reopening is yet to be confirmed.

For those migrants offshore looking to travel to New Zealand and who require a visa but do not meet the requirements of the critical worker border exception framework, the New Zealand visa application system is expected to resume from approximately mid-2022.  Further information is expected to be announced by the Immigration Minister in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions on the updates provided, please do not hesitate to contact us.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of date of publication 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.

Have more specific questions about your visa? Get in touch with Ajuria Lawyers today.

Talk to us

Author Aidan Kinsella

More posts by Aidan Kinsella