COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins made two big announcements on 28 February 2022.
The first announcement was that New Zealand is removing self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travellers. The other announcement was that New Zealand is bringing forward stage two of the border reopening plan.
All self-isolation requirements removed from 2 March for fully vaccinated travellers
The New Zealand government has decided to drop the requirement for self-isolation for fully vaccinated travellers upon arrival in New Zealand after consultation with the Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group and the Director General of Health.
This decision means that all New Zealanders coming home and tourists entering the country will be able to step off the plan and enter the community immediately, and it takes effect on Wednesday, 2 March.
Travellers must still have a negative pre-departure PCR test, though, and undertake two rapid antigen tests on arrival and also at day 5 or 6. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to report it and isolate for the same period as a community case (at least 10 days).
“Caution has served us well during the past two years and as we continue to move through the Omicron outbreak and peak, we will continue to remove restrictions when advised it is safe to do so – as we always said we would,” Minister Hipkins said.
New Zealand is bringing forward stage two of the border reopening plan
New Zealand released a 5-stage border reopening plan on 3 February 2022.
The first stage of the plan kicked off on 27 February. The second stage, that’ll allow travel to New Zealand from anywhere in the world for fully vaccinated New Zealanders and eligible travellers, was scheduled for 13 March.
The New Zealand government has now confirmed that it’ll bring forward the second stage to Friday, 4 March.
“We are able to take these decisions because we have a highly vaccinated population and good public health restrictions through the COVID-19 Protection Framework in place,” Minister Hipkins said.
Minister Hipkins also said that the New Zealand government will review the timings of the remaining stages of the border reopening plan in the coming weeks. That could mean that we could see New Zealand’s borders reopen fully much sooner than October.
Be the first to know about more positive changes to border restrictions
The two changes the New Zealand government made in February has been welcome news. Especially after almost no movement on COVID-19 regulations and border restrictions after two years!
You can rest assured that we’ll keep you informed of any changes that happens in the future. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can do so either. Follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn to ensure that you stay in the loop.
You’ve decided to give yourself and your family a better life in New Zealand. You can’t wait to pack your bags.
Hold on just a minute before grabbing your suitcases. There are some things that are important to know long before moving to New Zealand.
1. You’ll need patience (and lots of it)
Immigrating is not for the fainthearted.
You’re going to have to become familiar with complex immigration terms, compile stacks and stacks of paperwork, and deal with bureaucracy. You might also wait longer than you wish to on the outcome of your visa application.
And that’s all before you even set foot in New Zealand.
When things test your patience, take a couple of deep breaths, go for a walk, listen to your favourite music or have a laugh with a friend. Even better – get direction from a licensed immigration advisoer. You’ll get back to organising your immigration with a clearer mind and more energy.
2. Culture shock is real – even if you’re moving from another English-speaking country
Every country in the world has different customs and traditions, and work in unique ways, making culture shock part and parcel of moving to another country.
You’ll find it in the big things, like how to buy a house, and the little things, like how to greet people.
The best way to adjust to life in New Zealand is to go easy on yourself. Give yourself time to get used to the new way of doing things. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
3. New Zealand might not meet all your expectations
It’s normal to daydream about your new life in New Zealand, and to imagine all the ways in which your life will be better.
And it’s highly likely that your life will improve. After all, New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world, and it offers an exceptionally high quality of life.
But that doesn’t mean New Zealand will meet all your expectations. You might still be disappointed about some aspects of daily life in New Zealand.
That is okay, and it’s normal. No country is perfect.
4. You might find it tough to make new friends – but it is possible
Unless you already have friends and family in New Zealand, you’ll have to build a brand-new social circle once you’ve settled.
You might find this exercise hard. It’s not always easy to meet new people in a new country!
Here’s what you can do to make friends:
- Say ‘yes’ if colleagues invite you to lunch or drinks after work.
- Join expat groups like Internations to meet other people who are in the same boat as you are.
- Take a class in something you’re passionate about, like pottery, dance or cooking.
- Join a local hiking club or any other sports club.
Until you have a group of new friends, make an extra effort to stay in touch with loved ones back home. It’ll do wonders for your mental health.
5. It’s all going to be worth it!
You’re going to hit times of uncertainty when you wonder if you’ve made the right decision. Especially when things are testing your patience or taking longer than expected.
Here’s the good news – it’s going to be worth it.
You’ll get exposed to new experiences, make new memories, grow professionally, and get to see your children flourish. You’ll grow beyond your comfort zone, and you’ll be a fully-fledge New Zealander before you know it.
Immigration New Zealand had a plan to start reopening its borders in January. Unfortunately, a new COVID variant started spreading around the world in December.
New Zealand quickly decided to push back the start of its border plan to the end of February.
Today we’re happy to report that New Zealand is not delaying the reopening of its borders any further! The first stage of New Zealand’s new 5-staged plan kicks off at the end of this month.
Stage 1 – New Zealanders and eligible travellers in Australia, 27 February 2022
During the first stage, fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other travellers eligible under current border settings can enter New Zealand from Australia and self-isolate upon arrival.
Unvaccinated travellers, and those who do not meet New Zealand’s vaccination criteria but are eligible to enter New Zealand will continue to enter managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).
Stage 2 – New Zealanders and eligible travellers around the world, 13 March 2022
During the second stage of the border reopening, fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other travellers eligible under current border settings will be allowed to travel to New Zealand.
The border will also reopen to skilled workers earning at least 1.5 times the median wage. At the moment, these workers must demonstrate that their skills aren’t readily obtained in New Zealand. New Zealand will remove this requirement from the 13th of March.
Furthermore, New Zealand will reopen its Working Holiday Scheme.
Stage 3 – Temporary visa holders and international students, 12 April 2022
In this stage, New Zealand’s borders will reopen to current offshore temporary visa holders who are fully vaccinated and still able to meet their visa requirements.
The borders will also reopen to up to 5,000 fully vaccinated international students. Furthermore, New Zealand will implement additional and expanded class exceptions for critical workers earning below 1.5 times the median wage.
Stage 4 – Borders open to travellers from Australia and visa waiver countries, July 2022
New Zealand will reopen to fully vaccinated visitors from Australia and visa waiver countries from July, allowing family members of more onshore temporary migrants to visit New Zealand.
At this point, New Zealand will also phase out the border exception pathway for critical workers because of the opening of the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) category. The AEWV will be limited mainly to roles with pay above the median wage.
Stage 5 – Borders fully reopen, and most visa categories reopen, October 2022
Immigration New Zealand will resume the processing of most visa categories, including visitor and student visas, from October.
Self-isolation is only available for fully vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter New Zealand.
Travellers will self-isolate for 10 days. If New Zealand’s self-isolation period changes, such as a drop to 7 days, the self-isolation period for travellers will also change.
Travellers will also get three rapid antigen tests at the airport – one for use on day 0/1, and one for use on day 5/6, with one extra for backup.
Anyone who tests positive will need to take a PCR test at a Community Testing Centre or GP.
Comment from Immigration New Zealand
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi released a joint statement detailing New Zealand’s border reopening.
“This is a very carefully developed plan that replaces MIQ for the vast majority of travellers while ensuring we maintain ongoing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community from recent arrivals,” Minister Hipkins said.
He added that the plan “…has built-in protections to help manage risks such as future variants. A phased approach to reopening reduces the risk of a surge of cases while prioritising the return of New Zealanders and the much-needed entry of skilled workers. Having MIQ for every traveller was a temporary setting for when none of us had protection. New Zealanders need to reconnect with one another. Families and friends need to reunite. Our businesses need skills to grow. Exporters need to travel to make new connections.”