By Elly Fleming
18 March 2022
People in our local tourism, hospitality and retail businesses are finally going to cut a break, with fully vaccinated Australian tourists now due to land in the country from 11.59pm April 12, and fully vaccinated tourists from visa-waiver countries from 11.59pm May 1.
The lack of visitors to New Zealand over the last two years has been acutely felt throughout our business community, so bringing these border opening dates forward is great news.
When speaking with these businesses, the key concern now is that their workforce recovers from COVID-19 in time. A great number are at half capacity at the moment, with staff away with the virus, so they are hoping everyone is going to be back on deck and healthy in time to serve our visitors when they come.
Will the working holiday visas that opened this week help the tourism sector’s staff shortages? Maybe, but possibly not in time for Easter.
On Monday 14 March, working holiday visas opened for countries that we don’t have a visa cap with, namely Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA, and Japan.
People from these countries can apply for these visas online now, but we are finding that Immigration New Zealand is under huge pressure across the board, and visas are taking a lot longer to process than they normally would; in some cases months longer than normal, even for simple applications.
It is undoubtedly tough out there at the moment for many, with change being the only constant we can rely on – that and the right support, and a bucket load of patience.
Tourists from visa-waiver countries must request an NZeTA before coming to New Zealand.
Tourists will not need to isolate on arrival, instead they are required to have a pre-departure test and two further tests on day 0/1 and 5/6.
With the borders reopening, it is as important as ever for individuals and businesses to get professional legal advice on their options as well as assistance with border entry exception requests.
We have a thorough understanding of the applicable immigration policy and our team has successfully assisted numerous individuals and Kiwi employers to obtain approval under the available border exception categories.
If you have any immigration related questions including about border exceptions, please contact our Immigration team today on +64 3 545 6714 for professional legal advice that will give you a peace of mind.
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.