New border exceptions for New Zealand temporary work visa holders

9th September 2020

The New Zealand Government is taking the first step in enabling temporary work visa holders to return to New Zealand with the creation of a new border exception category. The new exemption category is specifically for those who are overseas and have strong, ongoing links to New Zealand.

While there are a number of criteria that these temporary work visa holders would need to meet in order to apply for the exception and re-enter New Zealand, The Minister of Immigration, Kris Faafoi, has said, “many of these visa holders and their families have lived in New Zealand for years and have built lives here with the hope and expectation that they would be able to stay longer-term in New Zealand. It is only fair to let these visa holders return given their long-standing and ongoing connections to this country. We are keen to give them certainty and welcome them back to New Zealand.”

Along with being able to demonstrate a strong and ongoing connection to New Zealand with realistic prospects of remaining here long-term, to be considered for the new border exception the visa holders must:

  • still hold their job in New Zealand, or continue to operate a business in New Zealand
  • hold either a work to residence visa, or an essential skills visa that is not subject to the stand-down period, or an entrepreneur visa
  • have departed New Zealand on or after 1 December 2019
  • have lived in New Zealand for at least two years, or, if living in New Zealand for at least one year, have one of the following:
  • an entrepreneur work visa and operating a business in New Zealand (and operated it before departing New Zealand)
  • their dependent children with them in New Zealand (for at least six months)
  • parents or adult siblings who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand
  • submitted an application for residence by 31 July 2020
  • have held a visa at the time of departing that does not expire before the end of 2020, or, if expiring before that date, have applied for a further visa by 10 August 2020

If you believe you are eligible for the new border exception please contact our team today.

For any inquiries

Contact Arno Nothnagel, Immigration Director | New Zealand