September Round-Up : Changes in Immigration

 In Coronavirus, immigration, immigration issues, opinion, Studying in NZ

13 September 2021

Since the last blogpost  there have been quite a few changes in the air. 

On 17 August 2021 a case of Coronavirus was detected in Auckland (with cases later emerging in Wellington) and the entire country was put into Level 4 Lockdown. While NZ outside Auckland has been taken out of level 4 – there are still some community cases of Covid-19 being found in Auckland which means that there will be restrictions for the near future. This has had the following implications for NZ immigration. 

Essential Skills Work Visa Changes

As discussed previously the process for the Essential Skills Work Visa has changed. However further changes were announced on 19 July 2021.

The change affects those who are continuing on in their current role when their visa is set to expire. Work Visa holders will no longer have to submit new Medicals and Police Clearance Certificates. Additionally employers will no longer have to re-advertise these roles. 

Please contact Idesi Legal to determine whether these changes apply to you. 

Travel Bubbles closed

We have previously reported Travel Bubbles to Australia, the Cook Islands and Niue have been opened. As a result of the coronavirus situation in New Zealand – the Cook Islands travel bubble has effectively closed. While travellers from the Cook Islands do not have to quarantine, those from NZ have to quarantine in the Cook Islands

On 23 July 2021- NZ suspended the quarantine-free travel bubble to Australia. Later due to the outbreak in NZ – Australia suspended quarantine free-travel from NZ to Australia. 

Residence Visas Extended

Due to the inability of to travel to NZ – those who hold resident visas outside of New Zealand have had their travel conditions extended until 11 September 2022. Many New Zealanders granted a residence visa will be relieved to find that their inability to obtain places in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) or being in a country subject to travel bans will have more time to travel to NZ. 

Restriction travelling from high risk countries

As previously reported – there are a number of countries where travel to NZ is banned (with exceptions) has been updated. 

These countries are:

  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Brazil
  • Fiji
  • Indonesia 
  • Papua New Guinea

These countries are deemed to be high risk due to the nature of coronavirus outbreaks in these countries. 

New Zealand citizens and their partners, dependent children, the parent of a dependent child who is a New Zealand citizen, and those with significant humanitarian reasons are allowed to travel to NZ. Permanent residents need to spend at least 14 days outside a high risk country before travelling to NZ. 


The rapid withdrawal of Western Military forces and the even more rapid victory of the Taliban has led to a humanitarian situation which we do not know the full scale of. 

The New Zealand government assisted with the evacuation of Afghanistan nationals who had assisted the NZDF. However this was a short-lived operation. Those who had their resettlement applications in on 25 August 2021 will continue to have their applications processed. 

It should be noted however that those Afganistan nationals who held valid NZ Visas or Resident visas are able to travel to New Zealand provided they held this visa on 19 August 2021. 

A reminder on Visa Conditions

As we have mentioned on our blog recently – all NZ visa holders have a condition on their visa to strictly follow NZ Government Health orders. While we have had no reports of breaches or Immigration New Zealand taking action against people who are purported to have breached their visa conditions. It is a timely reminder given the whole of NZ is currently under some kind of restriction to obey them or risk the loss of your visa. 

The message here is don’t risk your visa – follow all NZ Government Health Orders. 


If any of the above raises questions – please contact Idesi Legal for further information. 


At IDESI LEGAL we provide help for migrants and refugees coming to New Zealand. If you’re a NZ migrant and need help with the immigration process, get in touch.

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