Government announces more border exceptions

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi. Image: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

Hundreds more families who were separated by New Zealand’s border closure will be reunited under new border exceptions.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced the exceptions that allow offshore visa applications for the families of health care workers in New Zealand, as well as a small number of other highly-skilled workers in other sectors who are currently in New Zealand.

A new border exception is also being created for the partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders in New Zealand, who hold visas, but had not yet arrived here when the border closed.

“The Government closed the border to everyone but New Zealand citizens and residents, in order to keep Covid-19 out, keep our economy open and keep New Zealand safe.

Faafoi says the Government has introduced additional exceptions throughout the past year as circumstances permitted, the further exemptions will allow hundreds more families to reunite.

To be eligible for the new border exceptions, the family member currently in New Zealand must have more than 12 months remaining on their visa.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic, which requires strict border restrictions. But we have been mindful of the difficulties migrant workers and families have faced.

“In the past year, we have introduced exceptions that have allowed entry for around 13,000 family members of New Zealand citizens and residents and 1300 temporary work visa holders, and their families, who normally live here and were overseas when the borders closed. More than 2,500 family members of critical workers have also entered to date.

“These latest exceptions are expected to allow hundreds more migrants to come to New Zealand and join their families,” he says.

Those who are eligible will be able to request a border exception from April 30.

“These changes, together with the quarantine-free travel arrangements now in place with Australia, are part of government moves to find safe ways to ease COVID border restrictions and open up New Zealand to post-COVID opportunities, and we will be looking at further adjustments in the weeks and months ahead, including work on immigration policy reforms,” says Faafoi.

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