Immigration New Zealand has begun processing some relationship-based visas for foreign nationals abroad. The move is the latest step INZ has taken to ease some COVID-19 entry and immigration restrictions.

Key Points:

INZ is now processing and issuing the following offshore, relationship-based visas.

  • Partnership – Visitor (Partnership)
  • Partnership – Visitor (Culturally Arranged Marriage)
  • Partnership – Work (Partnership)
  • Partnership – Resident (Partnership)
  • Partnership – Resident (Partnership – Partner of an Expatriate)
  • Dependent Child – Visitor (Child of New Zealand citizen/resident)
  • Dependent Child – Visitor (Adopted child)
  • Dependent Child – Student (Child of New Zealand citizen/resident)
  • Dependent Child – Resident (Family child dependent)
  • Dependent Child – Resident (Family child dependent – Dependant of an Expatriate)

Those who are granted a visa in one of these categories will be not be subject to the normal COVID-19 entry restrictions. They will not be required, for example, to obtain permission from INZ to travel to New Zealand and will not have to provide an Expression of Interest for an exception.

Successful applicants will be granted a six-month period to enter New Zealand and activate their visas. This will allow travelers more time to arrange flights and plans to isolate or quarantine upon arriving in New Zealand. INZ may request additional or updated information for applications that were lodged more than three months prior to when INZ assesses them. This may include updated partnership evidence or a new chest x-ray for applicants traveling from countries with high rates of tuberculosis.INZ also said last week that it is processing but not yet issuing the following visas.

  • Refugee Family Support – Tiers 1 and 2
  • Migrant Investor (Investor 1 and 2), including Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for Investor 2
  • Parent Retirement
  • Entrepreneur

INZ said that while it will begin processing these applications, it cannot issue these visas under the current COVID-19 restrictions. By beginning processing, however, INZ may be able to more quickly issue these visas once restrictions are lifted. INZ said it would reject applications that do not meet immigration requirements and may request additional information as needed.

Analysis & Comments: INZ has taken steps to reopen to a growing number of foreign nationals, including waiving entry restrictions for some temporary work visa holders who normally reside in New Zealand and were outside the country when the border was closed earlier this year. While some relationship-based visas will now be processed, however, INZ said it will not yet process General Visitor Visa applications lodged on the basis of a relationship that does not meet applicable partnership requirements. These applications will be placed on hold until border restrictions permit them to be processed. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available. Please check Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map, available here, for information on travel restrictions and immigration changes in other countries.

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