New Zealand is finally opening up to its own nationals abroad and from today, it is also opening up to overseas visitors as part of a ‘five stage’ plan throughout 2022- providing welcome news for many New Zealanders who have been stranded abroad.
Since the end of February, New Zealanders in Australia have been able to arrive in New Zealand without going into MIQ (Managed Isolation Quarantine.) This has also included a list of ‘critical workers’ eg critical health workers, teachers and tech workers etc from Australia.
From mid-March these new rules were then applied to New Zealanders and critical workers located anywhere in the world. So this meant that New Zealanders and critical workers from anywhere, didn’t need to isolate in MIQ and could self-isolate at home instead. From midnight on April 12 the rules have changed again so that anyone with a visa, as well as professional sports players and music stars (and their support staff) could skip MIQ. The government are also allowing 5,000 overseas students to enter the country and will look towards increasing the number of seasonal and critical workers.
It is being anticipated that the New Zealand government will open up to anyone from a visa-waiver country during the summer time of this year and it is also being predicted that by mid-Autumn normal visa processing maybe able to resume and travellers from anywhere in the world would be able to enter New Zealand without MIQ. These plans are of course subject to change as the pandemic remains a dynamic situation.
The rolling out of these various stages to emerge from the country’s lockdown, will of course be welcome news for the country’s tourism and hospitality businesses, many of whom have struggled to survive the border closures. Tourism was New Zealand’s biggest export industry and pre-Covid accounted for 20% of total exports and directly accounted for 5.5% of GDP. It will also be welcomed by those who have intentions to move to New Zealand as there is now a clearer indiction of timescales of when the restrictions will be lifted.
The country had some of the toughest restrictions enforced during the pandemic. The borders have been closed for the majority of the time since March 2020, with the exception of a temporary travel bubble with Australia in 2021. This was suspended after a few months as the virus began to peak again.
For further information on the reopening of the New Zealand borders, take a look at New Zealand Immigration.