The Minister of Immigration has now certified immigration instructions to give effect to the changes announced last week and the following new criteria for exceptions to the border closure come into effect today:

  • Partners and dependents of New Zealand citizens and residents who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand or hold a visa on the basis of their relationship will no longer need to travel with their New Zealand family member to be granted an exception
  • New criteria for ‘other essential worker’ exceptions and a new process for decisions which will now be made by Immigration New Zealand.
  • Extending the current exception for diplomats to include those who are taking up new posts in New Zealand

A new maritime exception is also being worked through which will allow entry to those arriving at the maritime border, where there is a compelling need for the vessel to travel to New Zealand. This is expected to come into effect later in June.

Criteria for partners and dependents

Under the new instructions that came into effect today, partners and dependents of New Zealand citizens and residents who have a relationship-based visa or are ordinarily resident in New Zealand will no longer need to be travelling with their NZ family member to be granted a border exception.

Partners or dependents of a New Zealand citizen or resident who have a relationship-based visa will be able to travel on that visa and will not need to request a border exception.

Partners or dependents of a New Zealand citizen or resident who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand but do not have a relationship-based visa should request a border exception. If their request is approved, they will then be invited to apply for a visitor visa, another visa that suits their circumstances, or to vary their existing visa to allow them to travel.

Partners of New Zealand citizens or residents who are not travelling together, are not on a relationship-based visa or are not ordinarily resident in New Zealand will still be subject to the border restrictions, unless they meet another border exception criteria.

Criteria for ‘other critical workers’

The Government has agreed to specific criteria for determining whether someone is considered an ‘other critical worker’ and is therefore eligible for an exception.

A worker coming to New Zealand for a short-term (less than six months) may be considered a critical worker if:

(i) the person has unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not obtainable in New Zealand; or

(ii) the person is undertaking a time-critical role which is essential for the delivery of an approved major infrastructure project, a government approved event, an approved major government programme, an approved government-to-government agreement or has significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy.

A worker coming to New Zealand for the long-term (more than six months) may be considered a critical worker if they meet one of the short-term criteria above and:

(i) will work for at least 30 hours per week and be paid at least twice the median wage ($106080 per year); or

(ii) has a role that is essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a fully or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and has the support of MBIE’s Science, Innovation and International branch to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work; or

(iii) is undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of a government-approved event, a major government-approved programme or an approved major infrastructure project.

A list of approved infrastructure projects is available here.

A list of approved major government programmes, government approved events and government-to-government agreements is available here.