Don’t hold off on your emigration because of COVID-19!
New Zealand closed their borders to just about anyone when COVID-19 first struck in 2020, but the country has since created several border exceptions for people in critical occupations and visa categories.
There is thus no reason to put off your emigration if you qualify for one of the border exceptions listed below.
Even if none of these border exceptions apply to you, there are still good reasons to start your emigration (you can skip to numbers 6 and 7 on our list to see why).
1. New Zealand IS ACCEPTING visa applications under some categories
Immigration New Zealand announced in September that it’s now again accepting visa applications under four categories:
- Parent Retirement
- Migrant Investor (Investor 1 and 2), including Expressions of Interest for Investor 2
- Refugee Family Support (Tiers 1 and 2)
The rationale behind accepting Investor and Entrepreneur visas is that these visas brings investment into New Zealand and add jobs to the economy. This is much-needed in a post-COVID-19 world.
2. You might qualify for an ‘other critical worker’ border exception
In September 2020, INZ relaxed the criteria for some overseas workers to allow migrants with critical skills through the border.
The New Zealand employer will apply for the exception. The overseas worker must fall into one of two categories and then meet the criteria associated with the category under which the employer wants to apply for the border exception.
3. New Zealand announced a border exception for 300 teachers in July!
Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced on 3 July that 300 overseas qualified teachers will be able to enter New Zealand under a new class border exception.N
“This will give principals and services additional support, especially for 2022 recruitment, and complement existing teacher supply initiatives”, said Minister Hipkins.
The exception may also be open to teachers who worked in New Zealand but who had to leave the country and were unable to return to their job due to border closures.
Furthermore, Immigration New Zealand is creating a family reunification border exception for the partners and dependent children of teachers who are already in New Zealand on temporary visas. These teachers will be able to request for their family to join them for the duration of their visa.
4. INZ is creating a border exception for dairy farm workers
Immigration New Zealand is introducing a border exception for up to 150 dairy herd managers, up to 50 dairy farm workers and up to 50 veterinarians.
“It is clear from conversations with the dairy and veterinarian sectors that they are facing workforce pressures. These border exceptions will go a long way towards relieving those pressures,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.
To apply for the exception, you must have between three to five 5 years’ experience and meet the remuneration threshold of NZD85,000 per year.
5. The border exception for critical healthcare workers is indefinite!
Up to March 2021, the border exception for critical healthcare workers had a start date of 31 March 2021. This start date meant that new, approved employees had to start working for their New Zealand employer on or before 31 March 2021.
Much to the delight of visa holders and New Zealand employers, INZ decided to remove the start date. This move meant that the border exception for critical healthcare workers became indefinite!
Eligible healthcare workers can thus enter New Zealand at any stage to take up employment in the country.
6. You can complete critical parts of your skilled migrant visa application despite the border closures
Let’s first explain why you’d want to do that. It’s simple. If you complete the critical parts now, you’ll be ready to submit your visa application as soon as the restrictions are lifted. You’ll be streets ahead of migrants who chose to wait and see what happens first.
Our advisors always tell our clients that their focus should be on the long term not the short term!
Let’s now look at some examples of those critical parts that you can tick off your to-do list.
It is, for instance, your personal documents such as birth certificates and police clearances. Keep in mind also that if you’re applying as a skilled worker you may need occupational registration and a qualification assessment. These are known to take long and may take even longer now. It’s therefore much better to start your emigration process sooner rather than later!
7. INZ could change immigration regulations which could mean that you don’t qualify to apply for a visa at all
We do not say this to scare you. This has happened all too often in the past.
Take for example the big changes that were made to Essential Skills visas earlier this year, including that your median wage would determine the family members you can support and in what manner.
Let’s not forget about when INZ closed the Parent Resident visa in October 2019 until February of this year. At the same time, INZ made a number of changes to the visa. One of these changes was capping the number of visas at 1,000 annually.
These changes scuppered many people’s plans!
Remember that generally you’re safe from any changes if your visa application is already in the system when it happens. This is another good reason to start your emigration sooner rather than later.
Ready to get going with your visa application?
Contact us if you want to find out if you qualify for any of New Zealand’s border exceptions, or if you simply want to start putting together your visa application.
Our advisors can assess your immigration eligibility and work out a personalized immigration plan. Our administrative team can then help you get all the parts together.
We want to see you realise your dream of living in New Zealand as much as you do, so we’re looking forward to working with you!
- Published in Latest posts, New Zealand Immigration Advice, News
#COVID19: INZ refunding visa applications that cannot be processed due to border restrictions
To date, New Zealand has only had 2 763 cases of COVID. This is of course due to the country closing its borders early in the pandemic and maintaining strict border restrictions.
Unfortunately, the restrictions also means that it’s impossible for most people from overseas to enter New Zealand.
It is for this reason that Immigration New Zealand now has decided to refund levies and fees for visa applications that cannot be processed and approved.
Eligibility criteria to have your visa application lapsed or returned, and refunded
Immigration New Zealand will mainly refund visitor, students and work visa applications. The following criteria will also apply:
- You applied for a temporary visas from outside New Zealand before 10 August 2020
- Your visa application will lapse and you’ll get a refund.
- You applied for a temporary visa from outside New Zealand after 10 August 2020 when INZ suspended offshore applications
- Immigration New Zealand will return your visa application and you’ll get a refund.
You do not need to do anything if you’re eligible for a refund. You or your representative will get an email from Immigration New Zealand when INZ is processing your refund.
These visa applications and categories do not qualify for lapsing and refunding
INZ will not lapse and refund the following applications:
- Applications made from a COVID-19 quarantine free travel zone where you have notified INZ in writing before 30 June 2021 that you are still in a COVID-19 quarantine free travel zone, and want INZ to process your application
- Applications based on a relationship – partner or dependent children – to a New Zealand citizen, resident class visa holder or temporary visa holder
- Work visa applications under any of the following categories:
- Post-study work
- Work to Residence
- Entrepreneur Work Visa category
- Global Impact Visa categories
- An application for a work visa to arrange the transfer to and investment of funds in New Zealand after your application for residence under the Investor 1 or Investor 2 category has been approved in principle
- Applications based on a relationship – partner or dependent children – to a principal application with a temporary visa application that is listed above
You can decide how to proceed with your application if you’re in New Zealand with an automatically extended temporary visa
Immigration New Zealand is also going to give applicants whose temporary visas were automatically extended by special direction the choice to withdraw or proceed with their visa applications.
If you fall within this group instead and you choose to withdraw your application, you’ll only get a refund for the application fee. You won’t get a refund for the levies on your application.
As with refunds for overseas applicants, INZ will contact all eligible onshore applicants – it is not necessary to contact INZ yourself.
This is how the refund process will work
According to Immigration New Zealand, there are up to 50,000 eligible visa applications in the system!
INZ is going to process all of these refunds in batches, and contact eligible visa applicants, or their representative, via email over the next few months.
- If you submitted and paid for your application online:
- INZ will refund you credit card
- Where a third party such a licensed immigration advisor made payment on your behalf:
- It is your and your representative’s responsibility to arrange reimbursement of the refund. Immigration New Zealand is not able to mediate between you and your representative.
- For payments made more than 12 months ago:
- INZ will contact you to complete a refund form and provide a bank account number for the refund
- For applications submitted through other channels:
- INZ will contact you to obtain payment details
Please note that Immigration New Zealand may ask you to complete a refund request form in some cases.
Please be patient!
Processing these refunds is going to be a monstrous task for INZ! We urge you to be patient if you qualify for a refund.
In the meantime, contact us to if you’d like to see if you qualify for a visa that has a border exception. Our team can also help with immigration to Australia, so ask us about your options if you’d like to explore your options.
- Published in News, Your Visa Application
#COVID19: New border exception for 300 teachers
Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced on 3 July that 300 overseas qualified teachers will be able to enter New Zealand under a new class border exception.
Eligible teachers to get invitations from September
The overall outlook in New Zealand for domestic teachers supply remains positive but Early Childhood Education (ECE) services and schools continue to find certain locations and subjects difficult to recruit for.
It is for this reason that Immigration New Zealand decided to create a border exception for teachers. “This will give principals and services additional support, especially for 2022 recruitment, and complement existing teacher supply initiatives”, said Minister Hipkins.
The Ministry of Education will work with the education sector to ensure that the ECE services and schools with the greatest recruitment needs get priority. The Ministry will invite applications for these teachers from September.
The exception may also be open to teachers who worked in New Zealand but who had to leave the country and were unable to return to their job due to border closures.
INZ is also making family reunification possible
Immigration New Zealand is creating a family reunification border exception for the partners and dependent children of teachers who are already in New Zealand on temporary visas. These teachers will be able to request for their family to join them for the duration of their visa.
“A lot of families were separated when border restrictions were put in place to protect New Zealand from COVID-19 and we know this has been hard for them. We’re pleased we’re at last able to reunite teachers with their families”, said Minister Hipkins.
Contact us if you want to apply to teach or join a your teacher partner in New Zealand
Immigration New Zealand is still ironing out the finer details of the border exception but book a consultation with our licensed advisor in the meantime if you want to find out if you’re eligible to teach in New Zealand.
Our team can also help you and any children apply for the appropriate visas to join a partner in New Zealand who’s working there as a teacher.
Just want to stay up to date with immigration news out of New Zealand? Then we suggest joining our newsletter. You’ll get your newsletter once a month, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
- Published in Latest posts, News, Working in New Zealand
Expat Insider 2021: How does New Zealand compare to the world?
InterNations has released the results of their annual Expat Insider survey – and New Zealand did well!
The survey quizzed expats on topics ranging from their financial situation to career prospects, and expats in New Zealand rated the country highly in most categories.
Overall, New Zealand ranked in the top 10.
What expats think of New Zealand
When it comes to life in New Zealand, expats are most impressed with the excellent work-life balance the country offers. A whopping 83% of respondents were generally satisfied compared to 66% globally, and 39% of expats were completely satisfied with their work-life balance.
Expats in New Zealand also feel their jobs are quite secure, with 81% of respondents rating their job security favourably. This is 20% higher than the global average.
Prospects are also good for those looking for a change, with 64% of expat rating the local career opportunities positively. The global average was only 45%!
In terms of remote work, only 62% of respondents said they are able to work from home. For nearly half of these expats the reason is the nature of their work. That is most likely at least partly due to the fact that 26% of the respondents work in the healthcare field.
Keep in mind also that New Zealand managed to rapidly contain the COVID-19 pandemic, so being able to work from home is not such a priority as elsewhere in the world at the moment.
How does the Expat Insider survey work?
For the 2021 Expat Insider survey, 12,240 respondents representing 174 different nationalities and living in 186 countries or territories worldwide were asked to evaluate life abroad.
What factors into the ranking?
The overall ranking of each country was determined by the answers of respondents to questions across four categories:
- Quality of Life – Leisure Options, Personal Happiness, Travel and Transportation, Health and Well-being, Safety and Security, Digital Life, Quality of the Environment
- Ease of Settling – Feeling at Home, Friendliness, Finding Friends, Language
- Personal Finance
- Working Abroad – Career Prospects and Satisfaction, Work and Leisure, Economy and Job Security
Expats also had to answer the question “How satisfied are you with life abroad in general?”
Who responded to the survey?
The Expat Insider survey breaks down the statistics of respondents as follows:
- Gender: 48% female, 52% male
- Relationship status: 63% in a relationship, 37% single
- Family status: 80% without dependent children abroad, 20% with dependent children abroad
- Age: 46.1 years on average
- Level of education: 83% with university degree (2% with no degree, 7% high school graduate, 8% commercial/technical/vocational training)
What countries were in the top 10?
The top 10 countries overall were:
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
Top findings from the top three countries
Taiwan has always scored highly for both the affordability the quality of local healthcare, among other factors. In 2021, an astounding 96% of respondents in Taiwan rated the quality of medical care positively, and nearly 66% couldn’t be any happier.
Mexico is known for offering expats a hospitable, welcoming and affordable environment. Not only has it landed in the top 5 of each ranking since 2014, but it also lead in the 2021 Ease of Settling Index.
Costa Rica ranked second out of 65 countries in 2017 and then dropped all the way to the 21st position by 2019. Now, it has managed to climb back up again. Similar to Mexico, Cost Rica does particularly well with regard to personal finance and the ease of settling in. The country also impresses expats with its natural environment and great work-life balance.
Want to read the complete Expat Insider survey?
If you want to know more about New Zealand’s performance on the 2021 survey, click here to download it from InterNation’s website.
- Published in Latest posts, Life in New Zealand, News