From the mailbag – Covid-19 – What is this new condition on my visa?
12 January 2021
On 20 December 2020- every visa holder in New Zealand had the following condition placed on their visa whether it be a work, visitor or residence visa. This condition regards compliance with public health orders surrounding Covid-19.
The visa condition reads as follows.
“Temporary entry and resident visa holders must follow health instructions in New Zealand
Everyone in New Zealand is required to follow health instructions that are in place relating to COVID-19.
Any new resident and temporary visas granted are now subject to a specific visa condition requiring them to comply with:
- any order made under section 11 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, and
- any order made under section 70 of the Health Act 1956 and listed in schedule 2 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, and
- any instruction from a Medical Officer of Health which relates to a notifiable or quarantinable disease.
This includes Australian citizens and permanent residents of Australia, who are granted resident visas on arrival in New Zealand, regardless of their intended length of stay.
If you do not comply with these requirements, you may be liable for detention or deportation for breaching the conditions of your visa.
The Ministry of Health in New Zealand provides details on any orders or instructions that may be in place. These could include: quarantine on arrival, self-isolation if you are unwell, and infection control methods such as limits on gatherings or contact tracing.”
What does this mean?
A number of visa holders wrote in asking what this condition means for them. Essentially it means that as someone who holds a visa you must follow all Covid-19 directions from the government or risk your migration status. A breach can lead to your visa applications being declined or at worst you being subject to a Deportation Liability Notice.
At the moment with New Zealand at level One- it can be difficult to see how it can impact you. But should any part of New Zealand move to Levels Two, Three and Four, this condition will definitely come into play.
Recently with the level three lockdown imposed in Auckland during August – stay at home orders and restrictions on travel were in place. Should it happen again people in breach of any Covid-19 related health orders may have their visa cancelled. The situation can change overnight should heaven forefend a new outbreak of Covid-19 occurs.
Another example of this comes from Australia. There during a flare-up of Coronavirus in Sydney, there was a Christmas Party held Bronte Beach in breach of Public Health orders against large gatherings. Following on from this the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced that visa holders who participated in this party may have their visas cancelled. This is an example of what could happen here should you breach public health orders here.
Who does this apply to?
This condition applies to all temporary and resident visa holders – including Australians in New Zealand.
What Should I do?
Most importantly you should follow all health orders as per your visa conditions. Public health orders are done for the right reasons and no one wishes for Coronavirus to take hold as it has done in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
However if you do find yourself subject to deportation or INZ issues a PPI Letter as a result of a breach of these orders you should seek legal advice from Idesi Legal.
Not all breaches of Covid-19 conditions are black and white. Health orders can change overnight, and can have different conditions region to region.
For example what is perfectly okay today like not wearing masks on public transport during level 1, can be a breach of public health orders during level 3. During the recent outbreak in Auckland – what was banned in Auckland district was perfectly okay in neighbouring Northland and Waikato.
If you are subject to deportation as a result of a breach of public health orders – please contact Idesi Legal Limited for further assistance.
Please contact Idesi Legal at email@example.com for more information.