How does the Covid-19 pandemic affect your Visa for New Zealand?

The world is battling a pandemic of unparalleled extent.

To safeguard our people, our international border was mainly closed since the beginning of the pandemic.

What does this mean for your migration to New Zealand?

  • Who can enter New Zealand while the borders are closed?
  • Visas for Critical Workers
  • How does the pandemic affect the EOI selection process?
  • What can you do now to improve your chances?

March 2022 - Important update:

16 March 2022: Just announced exciting NEWS:

New Zealand's international border is finally reopening for fully vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter New Zealand!

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Tourism Minister Stuart Nash have announced plans to fast-track the reopening of the border.

PM Jacinda Ardern on border reopening plan:

'We're ready to welcome the world back'

Ardern has announced New Zealand's borders will be open to vaccinated Australians from 11.59 pm on 12 April.

She says fully vaccinated travellers from visa-waiver countries will be able to enter the country from 11.59pm on 1 May.

The border has already reopened to New Zealanders from around the world and on Monday critical and skilled workers also became eligible to enter without isolation, Ardern says.

For details go to: You can start your migration to New Zealand journey now!

Who can enter New Zealand while the borders are closed?

While the world is waiting for the pandemic to recede, New Zealand is safe guarding its borders by restricting entry into our country and limiting the number of visas granted accordingly.

We are nearly back to normal life, the only differences are that we wear masks on public transport and we keep a record of shops and restaurants we visit, just in case we need to be contacted if there is a new Covid-19 case in the country.

However, the whole of New Zealand is adhering to strict self-isolation rules and the curve of daily new cases is now flattening, which is an excellent sign. While we are now focussing on reaching a high level of vaccination rates and immunity, there are signs, that New Zealand might have once again succeeded to push back against the virus.

We will update this page as new developments happen.

There are four scenarios that will allow you into New Zealand now:

1. You are a partner of NZ Resident or Citizen
2. You are a Health Critical Worker
3. You are an 'Other' Critical Worker
4. You are in a quarantine-free travel zone

Pre-departure COVID-19 test:

A negative COVID-19 test result is required for most travellers to New Zealand.

Our Accelerate Program for Critical Workers

At NZIC we offer our high priority Accelerate Program to Critical Workers in order to help you to secure the crucial offer of skilled employment and meet Immigration New Zealand’s policy requirements to enter the country now as a Critical Worker.

Join us on our next Webinar where our Lead Licensed Immigration Adviser will explain the Critical Worker definitions and process in further detail.

Icon of our accelerate program

Critical Purpose Visas:

To ensure that critical services can be provided in New Zealand and to support New Zealand employers who are experiencing difficulties with filling their job openings, New Zealand is inviting certain skilled workers, called critical workers, to enter the country.  

Workers in healthcare, maritime and other sectors are considered crucial for New Zealand.

Other Critical Workers

There are 3 categories of 'other critical workers', each with their own criteria, under which employers can bring employees into New Zealand.

Criteria for short term critical workers

(For less than 6 months in total)
This includes critical workers who:
  • Have unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand, or
  • Are undertaking a time-critical role for:
  • The delivery of an approved major infrastructure project, or
  • A government approved event or a major government-approved programme
  • An approved government-to-government agreement
  • Work that brings significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy.

Skills are considered not readily obtainable if there are no workers in New Zealand who can do the role, or there is a very limited pool of available workers who can do the role and they are not available to the employer.

Examples of workers meeting this standard may include:
  • Some highly specialist veterinarians
  • Vendor-appointed engineers required to install major equipment
  • Actor in a key film role

Criteria for long term critical workers

(For more than 6 months)
They must meet one of the criteria for short term workers and:
  • Earn at least twice the median salary (currently NZD $106,080 a year), or
  • Have a role that is 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 has the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work, or
  • Are undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of a government-approved event, or a major government-approved programme, or an approved major infrastructure project.

Criteria for approved classes of workers

A worker coming to New Zealand may be considered an ‘other critical worker’ if they:
  • Are in a class of worker approved by Ministers
  • Have been nominated by an authorised government agency or an industry group – a list of nominated workers will be provided to Immigration New Zealand.

Requests for approval of critical workers must be made by the employer, not the migrant.

Those requests for short and long-term critical workers are considered on a case-by-case basis by senior Immigration New Zealand officials.

INZ approval does not guarantee that visas will be granted to the migrant. Visa applicants must still submit an application, pay the application fee and any levies, and demonstrate they meet all criteria to be granted a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or a Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions.

Please note:

Holding an Essential Skills work visa is not enough to qualify as an ‘other critical worker’.

Healthcare Sector

Visa applications will be prioritised for key roles necessary for the health response in New Zealand.

Employees will need to be current or new health or disability workers in a role needed to deliver critical services in New Zealand.

As a temporary measure, the Government has also changed temporary work visa conditions to allow some health workers with lower skilled Essential Skills visas, who have worked in New Zealand for three years, an additional 12 months before they are subject to a stand down period where they must leave New Zealand.

Maritime Sector

Ships may enter if all aboard are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents - quarantine and entry restrictions apply.

Certain foreign-flagged ships with foreign crew are permitted to enter New Zealand without applying for approval from the Ministry of Health or Immigration New Zealand.

How does the Covid pandemic affect the Expression of Interest Selection process?

While the world is trying to manage and ultimately get on top of the pandamic, Immigration New Zealand has put Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa and Parent Resident Visa decisions on hold for now.

INZ is not selecting Expressions of Interest for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa and the Parent Resident Visa at the moment.

What happens if you have already submitted your EOI?

EOIs are normally valid for 6 months from submission, or until there is a selection, but if you have submitted an EOI after the last selection on 18 March 2020, your EOI will remain valid until INZ begins selecting EOIs again, even if this happens more than 6 months after you submitted the EOI.

Important: If you have submitted an SMC EOI and are currently in New Zealand on a temporary visa, you must ensure that you hold and maintain a valid visa at all times.

How can you maximise your points potential now?

While we are all waiting for the conditions to improve and ultimately for the borders to gradually re open, there is a lot of work we can do to improve your chances of moving to New Zealand as soon as that will be feasible for you.

As the points system is still in place, it is now a matter of time for it to be relevant again. Maximising your chances of migrating to New Zealand given Covid-19 is not that different to before the epidemic struck.

Pre-Covid the minimum points score for an Expression of Interested to be selected was 160.

While we do not know how many points you will need by the time the selections are starting again, the bottom line remains the same: You will need to claim as many points as you possibly can to improve your chances of being selected.

If a point score of 160 appears to be out of reach for you at this stage, there is a good chance that you might be able to reach that score once you can claim 50-110 additional points for an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand.

Job Seekers

Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers whether you can qualify to be a critical worker.

NZ Employers

Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers how you can request an approval for a critical worker you would like to employ.

Our Advice to You:

Even if you don't qualify for our Accelerate Program, start working with our visa and job search teams now to make the most of the time before your arrival!

A lot of work can be done before the borders open.

  • Develop your immigration strategy
  • Talk to our Licensed Immigration Advisers now to ensure that you will be "document ready" when time will be of the essence.  
  • Attend our pre-arrival Job Search Webinars
  • Attend our Immigration and Job Hunt Webinar
  • Get to know the job market
  • Work actively on becoming the best candidate you can be in the NZ job market
  • Talk to our Job Search Professionals about how you can start searching for a job in New Zealand now.
  • Start networking with key players in your industry

Ask us how you can get ready for your move. We work with our clients on being ready for their move as soon as that will be feasible.

Previous Update from our principal licensed immigration adviser:

"When exactly the border will open to business and investor migrants still remains unknown, but there are signs of recovery.

New Zealand’s largest businesses call out for urgent action, to avoid that critical overseas staff will be lost and, as a result, both the economy and employment levels will suffer.
The Government revealed that border restrictions for some resident work visa holders and partners of Kiwis will be eased.

Suggested solutions to facilitate the re-opening of New Zealand's border are:
- A user-pays system for business migrants
- A booking system to manage both, demand and the quality of managed isolation facilities."

Immigration & Job Hunt Webinars

We highly recommend that you register your interest in one of our Immigration Webinars to meet our Principal Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr. Carsten Hallwass and one of our Job Search Coaches in a live forum and get the chance to ask your visa and job search related questions. Register your interest in our Immigration Webinar now

Join our popular Immigration & Job Hunt Webinar!

Everything you need to know about migrating to New Zealand as a Skilled Migrant.

register your interest

Watch our Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr. Carsten Hallwass as he explains the process of migrating to New Zealand as a skilled migrant in a straight forward and easy to understand manner:

Following this detailed overview, you will have a chance to ask questions and also hear answers to questions put forward by fellow participants of the webinar.

By the end of the webinar you will have a good understanding of the immigration process and know how you can get started.

You will feel empowered to make a solid decision on your move to New Zealand!

Feedback we have received from Immigration and Job Hunt Webinar attendees:

"Thank you so much for the information on the webinar. You guys really are the definition of Informative. It was well presented, any questions asked were answered at one's doorstep. I am feeling confident that this is what I would like, to better my future not only for myself but for my family." K.P South Africa
"Fantastic webinar and most fruitful discussion I have seen so far for NZ immigration as compared to my previous experience. It was a free webinar where i paid nothing but all my questions were answered in a very smooth manner and In addition they committed to help us look for potential Job for NZ."
"The in-depth knowledge of the speakers was awesome and very relevant to the immigration process and further the presentation slides prepared by the team were fantastic, giving every key information to aspirants. I would definitely recommend New Zealand Immigration Concepts for any advice related to work visa, skilled migrant visa."
"I really enjoyed the webinar! There was so much information and the two advisers were very responsive to all of our questions. It was quite impressive and give us an insight of your expertise and control of the subject." M.M. France
"Thanks a lot for the insightful webinar, there were many doubts that got cleared after attending it. The webinar was well structured and had all the major topics covered."
"Thanks again for your support, I haven't come across such a professional team that goes well beyond customer service." M.S India
"We loved the webinar yesterday, I had joined one before but for my wife it was her first. We love the "vibe" of the topic "Immigration" into NZ." A.H Germany
"We wanted to thank you for the very informative webinar yesterday! Finally feeling optimistic about this transition process and our situation after attending yesterday and I appreciate that, especially in these times of such uncertainty."
"The webinar session was extremely good, helpful and it cleared many doubts which I had in mind and the Immigration Adviser's knowledge on immigration process was perfect." R N India
"I found the webinar very informative and I was impressed with your Advisers knowledge and professionalism too!" R.S (South Africa)
“Thank you for the webinar, it was definitely fruitful. I was highly impressed by the clarity in which guidance was provided in today's webinar by yourself and Dr. Carsten. It gave a boost to my confidence in the pathway towards NZ.” H.M
" It was very useful to get an overview about the most important topics. Also the opportunity to ask some questions during the presentation was very good." N. W (Germany)
"The webinar was informative indeed -.We are glad that we joined in." A.R

Do a Quick Self-Assessment

To start with, we recommend that you do a quick self-assessment of your chances of migrating under the SMC policy.

Our Points Guide is a comprehensive self-assessment tool. It will give you a good overview over the main criteria of the SMC points system and allow you to take a first glance at your chances

Our recommendation: If you are serious about migrating to New Zealand, do not take the risk of being rejected from the pool and get it right the first time!

What you need to know about Managed Isolation

Approved migrants may need to wait for a space in managed isolation as there is currently high demand for managed isolation and capacity is limited. A voucher confirming a place in a managed isolation facility needs to be arranged before boarding a flight.

Critical workers might not be able to enter New Zealand and begin managed isolation on their preferred date and at their preferred location – we need to keep sufficient space for New Zealanders, and employers need to be flexible. This will mean some critical workers’ arrivals are delayed.

You may also be interested in:

Do you want to migrate to New Zealand?

Base your move on solid grounds: Ask us for a Free Assessment and join our Immigration Webinar.

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“In contrast to another Immigration consultancy that we contacted, your company offered a free webinar and an assessment, warm, approachable staff that communicates openly with potential customers. I found your website and it was very detailed and informative. I understand that your company is a fee for services provider, but that has not been conveyed as a prerequisite during the decision making process.”

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At first, Maj kindly explained the whole process and what to expect. I was coached and introduced to New Zealand job market by their Job Search team, and getting assistance until I got a job in the country. The Visa team would also follow me up on my pending documents, so I never felt left out. Truly recommended for those seeking out an option to live in New Zealand. Big thanks from me and my whole family for things NZIC did for us..!

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NZIC helped me in my way to get a Visa and job search. They were always available to talk to and were open to all sorts of questions. No matter how random they were. Very friendly staff. And even when they had changes in employee and advisors, they always stayed professional and up to date. I can only say good things and recommend them highly.

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Very pleased and satisfied with the service we received from NZIC. They assisted me and my family from start to finish. Always willing to assist, and communicated our progress every step of the way. With their assistance we managed to obtain permanent resident visa status.

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