Don’t hold off on your emigration because of COVID-19!

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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:

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.

“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!

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