New Zealand is set to open borders towards the end of the year
New Zealand is opening borders in 2022 as confirmed by the New Zealand government.
The phased plan will allow more families to reunite, sectors and employers to access more skilled workers from offshore, business travel and international events to resume, and more international students to return to New Zealand.
Vaccination, COVID-19 testing and isolation requirements will continue. Managed Isolation & Quarantine (MIQ) requirements will remain for the unvaccinated. MIQ requirements for other travellers will be lifted as follows.New Zealand is opening borders in 2022 as confirmed by the New Zealand government.
The plan has been long awaited by many inside New Zealand and overseas, and is expected to bring new blood into the country's economy battered by COVID-19.
The borders will first open to New Zealanders located in Australia and will then gradually span to include Kiwis in other places before welcoming valid visa holders from the rest of the world. This will include several thousand students who will be selected by the Ministry of Education.
Those eligible to enter the country under the current border restrictions will continue to enjoy the exception.
Towards mid-2022, the travellers will include all Australians, holders of the new Accredited Employer Work Visa, as well as visitors from other countries whose visa requirements are waived.
Eventually, the spring of 2022 will see New Zealand going back to normal, with the borders open for most visa holders.
Please see below the summary of the changes with the relevant dates.
Step 1 - New Zealanders in Australia
27 February 2022
Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other travellers eligible under current border settings from 11:59 pm on Sunday 27 February.
Travellers from Nauru, Tuvalu and American Samoa will be able to enter from Step 1.
Step 2 – New Zealanders around the world
13 March 2022
Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other travellers eligible under current border settings from 11:59pm on Sunday 13 March.
Travellers from Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Fiji can enter New Zealand from Step 2.
Working Holiday Schemes will begin to reopen.
The salary criteria for critical workers in roles longer than six months will be reduced to 1.5 times the median wage. The requirement for these workers to demonstrate ‘unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand’ will be removed. Workers entering under these settings will not be eligible for the special 2021 Resident Visa.
Step 3 - temporary visa holders, international students
12 April 2022
Current offshore temporary visa holders (who still meet relevant visa requirements) and up to 5000 international students selected by the Ministry of Education from 11:59 pm from Tuesday 12 April.
Wider entry for sports and other events will be enabled. Additional and expanded class exceptions for critical workers earning below 1.5 times the median wage will be implemented from Step 3.
Step 4 - borders to Australia reopen
Our borders will open to Australia, visitors from visa waiver countries and Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders from July.
Opening travel to Australians and visitors from visa waiver countries means family members of more onshore temporary migrants will be able to visit New Zealand.
At this point, the border exception pathway for critical workers will be phased out as it will no longer be needed with the opening of the new AEWV category. The new Accredited Employer Work Visa will be limited mainly to roles that pay above the median wage.
Workforce class exceptions and other border exceptions will remain in place where needed until wider visa processing resumes.
Step 5 - normal visa processing resumes
Most visa categories, including visitor and student visas, will reopen in October.
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