New Zealand (NZ) have now moved to Alert Level 4. As a result, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has closed all visa processing offices while the country work to reduce the impact of Covid-19. Here's what this means from an immigration standpoint.
1. INZ offices close globally
All INZ offices have now closed for the foreseeable future. With skeleton staff working remotely, INZ are only available to deal with Covid-19 priority online applications. Responses are being actioned based on the direction of government, with the intention that only exceptional cases will be considered. INZ are urgently setting up a system to deal with these priority requests. Further information will follow when this becomes available.
2. Paper applications unlikely to be processed for the foreseeable future
Unfortunately, paper-based visa applications are unlikely to be processed during the period of lock down. This will include applications made under the Skilled Migrant, Residence from Work and Variation of Conditions visa categories. It will also include section 61 requests, made by individuals unlawfully in the country.
3. Extensions for temporary visa holders expiring between 1 April and 9 July 2020
Temporary visa holders due to expire between 1 April and 9 July 2020 will automatically have their visa extended until 25 September 2020. Extension emails will shortly be sent through to all visa holders.
4. FAQs from INZ pending
The authorities are working on setting up FAQs for impacted individuals and employers. We will distribute these, as soon as they become available.
We understand that this is a stressful time for you and your employees. We hope the above offers some relief, but recommend that you keep an eye on the INZ website. There is no place to request urgency yet, but we expect to see this and a set of FAQs from INZ very soon.
We understand that this is a confusing time, and you may have further questions. Please get in touch with one of our experts today to discuss any concerns.