Immigration New Zealand announced today (24/3 2020) that the government epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect on 2 April 2020.
This means that any person holding a temporary visa currently in New Zealand has an automatic three-month extension granted to their visa but only if their visa expires between 1 April and 9 July.
This will ease the pressure of migrants, their employers and their families during this Coronavirus crisis and the subsequent level 4 lockdown.
The impact of an epidemic management notice is that all visas that are current at the time the management notice starts (2 April) and would normally expire 14 days after the date on which the notice expires are treated as if they can continue to be considered as a current visa allowing migrants to stay in New Zealand.
This would change when:
- There is a cancellation of the epidemic management notice
- Expiration of 3 months after the day on which the notice expires.
There is no explicit statement as to when the management notices end.
But it would appear to be set for 9 July 2020, because all visa holders with visas expiring between 1 April and 9 July will have the visas extended until late September 2020.
New online visa application process:
The Immigration New Zealand website is stating that everyone who has a visa (including interim and Limited Visas) is due to expire between now and 1 April needs to immediately apply for a new visa using the online system.
The reference to those holding interim visas and limited visas due to expire before 1 April is likely to cause confusion for many migrants…
The online system does not let you apply for a visa of a different class or type while you hold an interim visa. Hopefully that prohibition will be lifted
Limited visas are not normally able to be extended unless the original purpose for which the visa was issued has not been completed.
So, it would appear that there is going to be an exception to that rule as a consequence of the current situation.
The important point to remember is: if your visa is going to expire before 1 April you must immediately apply for a new visa using the online system.
What I find curious is, why is the start date is 2 April 2020?
It would assist a great number of people if it was started this Thursday the 24th of March, not next week. It would also significantly ease the burden of work for Immigration New Zealand.
You can see the latest updates from Immigration New Zealand on their website here:
We will keep updating the immigration news on this blog as it is announced.
See more insights about other immigration news on our blog.