Epidemic Management Notice information

Find out about what the latest epidemic status means for all visa holders.

An Epidemic Management Notice relating to immigration matters came into effect on 2 April 2020. This had some impacts on visas of people in New Zealand and rules around detention.

What an Epidemic Management Notice is

What an Epidemic Management Notice means

Under section 8(1) of the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, the Prime Minister may, with the agreement of a Minister, issue an Epidemic Management Notice for a piece of legislation (such as an Act of Parliament) for which that Minister is responsible. 

An Epidemic Management Notice can only be given when the Prime Minister has issued an Epidemic Notice under section 5 of the Epidemic Preparedness Act. 

The Prime Minister issued an Epidemic Notice on 25 March 2020. The notice expires on 25 June 2020.

For more information:

Epidemic Preparedness (Epidemic Management—COVID-19) Notice 2020

What an Epidemic Management Notice does

An Epidemic Management Notice states how particular provisions in a piece of legislation are to be invoked to manage the practical effects of the outbreak.

In this regard, the Immigration Act 2009 has provisions which come into force when an epidemic management plan is in force, and allow certain actions to be taken. The provisions have two main purposes:

  • Extending the expiry dates of all temporary entry class visas where the visa holder is in New Zealand
  • Modifications to detention and court-related requirements

The full list of provisions are:

  • Section 78 – extension of temporary entry class visas held by people in New Zealand that would otherwise expire within the period of the epidemic (temporary class visas are work, student, visitor, limited and interim visas)
  • Section 337 –the District Court may deal with certain matters on the basis of documents only, during the epidemic
  • Section 338 – modification of requirements to bring people before a District Court judge, during the epidemic
  • Section 339 – certain warrants to have effect for 28 days, during the epidemic
  • Section 340 – application of section 320 of the Immigration Act 2009, during the epidemic (section 320 concerns people who are released on conditions)
  • Section 341 – calculation of consecutive periods of detention for the purposes of section 323 of the Immigration Act (section 323 concerns people who would be detained for over six months)

Why we need an Epidemic Management Notice

An Epidemic Management Notice is needed if the legal requirements in the Immigration Act are no longer possible or practical. 

Visa duration extension (extension to expiry dates)

Epidemic notices

An Epidemic Management Notice relating to immigration matters is in effect from 2 April 2020 until 25 June 2020. It allows for extensions of all temporary entry class visas, where the holder is:

  • still in New Zealand, and
  • their visa expires between 2 April and 9 July inclusive.

Visa holder extensions

If you hold a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July inclusive, and you are still in New Zealand, your visa will be automatically extended to 25 September 2020. You will get an email to confirm your visa extension. You do not have to do anything. The email will be sent to the most recent email address that the visa holder provided Immigration New Zealand.

You can find your visa expiry date in your eVisa letter, as well as by checking Visa View or the Visa Verification Service on the Immigration New Zealand website.

If you hold a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 1 April or earlier, and you have not applied for another visa, you are now unlawfully in New Zealand. You can either:

  • leave the country immediately if possible, or
  • make a request for a special temporary or resident visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act.

How we determined which visas are extended and for how long

The Immigration Act 2009 governs which visas are extended and for how long. Visas that will expire within 14 days of the expiry of the epidemic notice are extended. This means where the visa expiry date stated in the visa is between 2 April and 9 July (inclusive) that visa has been extended. Those visas will now expire on 25 September 2020.

Why all visas were not automatically renewed

The section in the Immigration Act 2009 (section 78) only applies to temporary entry class visa holders who are in New Zealand at the time the Epidemic Management Notice is issued, and whose visas will expire within 14 days of the expiry of the Epidemic Management Notice.

What happens if you were not in New Zealand on 2 April 2020

To be eligible to receive the extension, you needed to be onshore at the time the Epidemic Management Notice was issued. If you were not onshore, your visa duration will not have been extended.

What happens if you are on a limited visa

If you hold a limited visa, where the expiry date was stated in the visa as being between 2 April and 9 July (inclusive), then your visa has been extended to 25 September 2020. You do not need to do anything.

What happens if you are on an interim visa

It has been extended, if the expiry date stated in your interim visa was between 2 April and 9 July (inclusive). You do not need to do anything.

This extension does not apply to residence visas

The extension only applies to temporary class visas (which are work, student, visitor, limited or interim visas)

What happens if you leave the country

If you leave New Zealand you are unlikely be able to return because travel to New Zealand is currently restricted. 

If you are granted a new visa

If you are granted a new visa this will replace the visa you have at the moment. The duration of your new visa will be set by immigration instructions for that visa type.

What happened to the conditions on your visa 

Now your visa is extended by the Epidemic Management Notice you continue to have exactly the same visa conditions.

How you can change your visa conditions if necessary (for example, if your employer shuts down and you find other work)

It may be difficult for you to make an application to vary the conditions of your current visa. We will provide more information once it is available.

The extension can be renewed later

If the Epidemic Notice is renewed, then the Epidemic Management Notice may also be renewed and in this case your visa expiry would be extended again. More information will be given before this happens, so keep an eye on the Immigration New Zealand website.