New Zealand widens it border exemptions, allowing hundreds of families to reunite

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Immigration New Zealand announced this week that it’ll allow the immediate family members of some temporary visa holders to travel to and enter New Zealand, starting 30 April. This decision will allow families to reunite after spending many months apart!

Who qualifies for the border exemption?

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has enacted several border exemptions to enable specific groups of people to enter New Zealand.

The latest border exemption will enable the partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders who are still outside of New Zealand and fall within three groups to travel to New Zealand under the border exemption.

The three groups are:

  1. Partners and dependent children who held – and who continue to hold – a visa for New Zealand but were unable to join their partner or parent in New Zealand before the border closed
  2. The partners and dependent children of workers employed in critical health services
  3. The partners and dependent children of highly-skilled workers

1. Partners and dependent children who held a visa before the border closure

To be eligible to enter New Zealand, partners or dependent children outside of New Zealand must:

The partner or parent must:

  • be currently in New Zealand, and
  • have 12 months or more remaining on their work or student visa when the request to travel is submitted.

2. The partners and dependent children of workers employed in critical health services

To apply for an exemption to travel to New Zealand, you must:

  • be the partner or dependent child of a person who is currently in New Zealand on a temporary visa.

The partner or parent must:

  • be currently in New Zealand, and
  • have a visa specifying they work in an occupation to deliver critical health services in New Zealand, and
  • hold a visa that is valid for 12 months or more after the date the request to travel is submitted.

You’ll get an invite to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor visa if your request is successful. Your visa application must include evidence of your relationship with the primary visa holder. For example:

  • Any supporting documentation demonstrating your partnership
  • Evidence that your partner supports your travel to New Zealand
  • Any other evidence showing a commitment to a shared life

3. The partners and dependent children of highly-skilled workers

You’ll be eligible to apply for an exemption to the border restrictions if you are:

  • the partner or dependent child of a person who is currently in New Zealand on a temporary visa.

The partner or parent must:

  • be currently in New Zealand, and
  • earn at least twice the median salary, which is NZD106,080 per year at the moment
  • hold a visa that is valid for 12 months or more after the date the request to travel is submitted

The person in New Zealand must also meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • They have unique experience and technical or specialist skills not readily obtainable in New Zealand
  • They have a role essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a government-funded or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and have the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to carry out this work
  • A role essential for the delivery or execution of one of the following:
    • An approved major infrastructure project or a government-approved event, or a major government-approved programme
    • An approved government-to-government agreement
    • Work with a significantly wider benefit to the national or regional economy

If your request is successful, you’ll get an invite to apply for a Critical Purpose Travel visa. Your visa application must provide evidence of your relationship with the visa holder in New Zealand. This evidence could be, for example:

  • A description of your partnership, including details of any previously shared living arrangements
  • Travel movements of you and your partner
  • Any other evidence showing a commitment to a shared life

How do you request to travel?

To request to travel to New Zealand, you must submit an Expression of Interest. If INZ agrees that you have a critical purpose to travel to New Zealand, i.e. that you meet the requirements of the border exemption, you’ll get an invitation to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa.

How long does INZ take to process requests to travel?

INZ has published on their website that they aim to respond to requests within five working days. However, it may take longer depending on the volume and complexity of the requests INZ receives.

Can Intergate Emigration help me with my application?

Our team can assist you if you’re the partner or dependent child of a critical health worker or a highly skilled worker. You can reach us at +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or send us an email at info@intergate-emigration.com.

Our licensed advisors have helped many people apply for travel exemptions over the past year, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.

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