Monday, June 14, 2021

COVID-19 immigration powers extended

The passing of a bill to extend temporary COVID-19 immigration powers means continued flexibility to support migrants, manage the border, and help industries facing labour shortages, Immigration Minister, Kris Faafoi said today.

“Over the past year, we’ve made rapid decisions to extend visas, vary visa conditions and waive some application requirements across entire visa categories. These decisions have provided more flexibility and certainty to visa holders and employers in New Zealand, and made more migrants available for industries facing labour shortages,” said Minister Faafoi.

Today, the Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Act 2021 has been passed by Parliament to maintain those powers until 2023.

The Minister has used the powers to benefit classes of migrants 19 times, including:

  • Extending visas for 22,500 workers and family members, to give more certainty to them and their employers.
  • Providing 5,600 offshore resident visa holders with more time to come to New Zealand and activate their visa.
  • Extending 16,600 visitor visas, to give people more time to secure ways to return home, and providing all visitors the opportunity to study or attend school while here.
  • Extending 7,800 working holiday visas, and easing conditions, to allow holders to work in industries like horticulture.
  • Waiving certain application requirements for transit passengers.

“On Monday, I exercised these powers again, this time to exempt around 5,500 Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme workers already in New Zealand from the need to take a day off work to undertake a chest x-ray before they apply for their next visa. This is another pragmatic use of these powers in response to the impacts of the pandemic,” Mr Faafoi said.

“The extension to 2023 ensures our immigration system can continue to be responsive and flexible over the next few years. The law change keeps in place existing safeguards. The powers can only be used for COVID-19 related matters and generally must benefit – or at a minimum, not disadvantage – visa holders.”

Latest Articles

NIWA figures show 1-in-200 year flood for Canterbury

Preliminary analysis by NIWA climate scientists has shown that the recent Canterbury rainfall was so extreme in some inland spots that it...

DOC says be quick for Great Walks

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is advising the public to be prepared to secure their place on a Great Walk when bookings...

Feedback sought on future of housing

New Zealanders are being encouraged to have their say on a long-term vision for housing and urban development to guide future work,...

Bennett to lead mosque attack response group

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive, Arihia Bennett MNZM (pictured) has been appointed chair of the newly appointed Ministerial Advisory Group...

New lease on life for Christchurch convention centre

Work will start work this year on a major redevelopment of the old Christchurch Convention Centre site, Christchurch City Council has announced.
X