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New Zealand border fully reopening by July 2022 Wednesday, 11 May 2022

The Government has announced a new faster timeline for reopening the border and reconnecting New Zealand with the world. New Zealand’s border will now be fully reopened by the end of July – three months earlier than originally planned.

Visitors applying from Pacific Island Forum countries (excluding Australia) will now be able to apply for visas from 16 May as entry to New Zealand from the Pacific is a Government priority. From 4 July all work visa categories will be open for applications, including the Accredited Employer Work Visa, and from 31 July all student and visitor visa categories will reopen. The maritime border will also reopen on 31 July.

In addition, most Work to Residence visa holders who were onshore on 9 May and whose visas are expiring on or before 31 December have had their visa extended by six months and two-year open work visas have been granted to Essential Skills, Post-Study Work and Partner of a New Zealander work visa holders who were also onshore on 9 May and whose visas are expiring on or before 31 December.

The Government has also announced changes designed to make it easier to attract and hire high-skilled migrants, while supporting some sectors to continue their shift away from relying on lower-skilled migrant workers.

This Immigration Rebalance plan seeks to lift working conditions for everyone, improve career pathways for New Zealanders and encourage businesses to focus on increasing productivity and resilience as part of our plans for economic recovery from COVID-19.

Note

Before you can travel to New Zealnd you must hold a valid visa or NZeTA.

Information about the NZeTA 

The changes include:

From 4 July

  • The Accredited Employer Work Visa will include a median wage threshold.
  • A green list will make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for high-skilled, hard-to-fill positions.
  • New sector agreements to provide for short-term or ongoing need to access lower-paid migrants.

Hiring migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa

From September 2022

  • Streamlined pathways to residence for migrants in green list occupations or paid twice the median wage.

From December 2022

  • Most partners of temporary migrant workers will need to qualify for an Accredited Employer Work Visa in their own right, instead of automatically getting an open work visa

Other changes

Changes to post-study work rights and cost-of-living requirements for future students.

During 2023 a new requirement will come into effect requiring employers to be accredited to employ any migrant.

Students able to travel to New Zealand from July

Visitor visa applications open to Pacific Island Forum countries

Visa extensions issued May 2022

Factsheets

Rebalancing New Zealand’s Immigration System PDF 379KB

Sector Agreements – Helping develop productive and resilient workforces PDF 322KB

The Green List - Simplified and residence pathways PDF 330KB

Immigration Rebalance - International Education PDF 169KB