The Government’s temporary COVID-19 immigration powers have been extended to 2023, providing continued flexibility to support migrants, manage the border and industries facing labour shortages.
The powers were originally established for 12 months. They have been extended to 15 May 2023 to ensure continued flexibility in the immigration system. The 2021 Amendment Act is almost identical to the 2020 Amendment Act, with only minor differences.
The Act allows temporary visa applications outside New Zealand to be suspended for up to six months, up from three months currently.
The Minister has used the powers to benefit classes of migrants 19 times, including:
- extending visas for 22,500 workers and family members, to give more certainty to them and their employers
- providing 5,600 offshore resident visa holders with more time to come to New Zealand and activate their visa
- extending 16,600 visitor visas, to give people more time to secure ways to return home, and providing all visitors the opportunity to study or attend school while here
- extending 7,800 working holiday visas, and easing conditions, to allow holders to work in industries like horticulture, and
- waiving certain application requirements for transit passengers.
Source: Immigration New Zealand