Currently there are a number of restrictions on who may enter New Zealand – for more details please see our article New Zealand Border Restrictions – Who is allowed to come to New Zealand?
Immigration New Zealand’s starting point is that the New Zealand border is closed, except to those people they have specifically allowed to enter. However, exceptions may be made in extremely limited cases for:
Essential health workers, as confirmed by the Ministry of Health
Other essential workers, as defined by the New Zealand Government
Citizens of Samoa and Tonga, for essential travel to New Zealand
Partners and dependents of temporary work or student visa holders who normally live in New Zealand where the temporary work or student visa holder is currently in New Zealand.
Up until now it has been unclear what criteria Immigration New Zealand would use to make an assessment on humanitarian grounds. However, Immigration New Zealand have recently indicated that an exception on humanitarian ground would be made where there are “exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature that make it strongly desirable for the applicant to travel and enter New Zealand”. Relevant factors when considering if humanitarian reasons justify the grant of a visa include:
1. the applicant’s connection to New Zealand;
2. the applicant’s connection to the place they are currently located;
3. whether New Zealand is the applicant’s primary place of residence, and their period of absence from New Zealand;
4. whether the applicant has any alternative options;
5. the impact of not granting a visa and entry permission to the applicant; and
6. whether the Ministry of Health or a District Health Board supports the provision of any medical treatment that may be required by an applicant.
When considering whether a person has humanitarian reasons Immigration New Zealand must also consider the strong public interest in protecting the health of New Zealanders and supporting Government agencies response to the risks posed by the COVID-19 situation.
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If you would like advice on this topic or any other immigration or employment related issue please contact our us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.