28 February 2024

Border to reopen for vaccinated Kiwis in stages from 27 Feb, MIQ removed

By: Gurbir Singh

The New Zealand border will reopen to vaccinated Kiwis and other current eligible travellers from Australia at 11.59pm on 27 February and to the same groups from the rest of the world only two weeks later on 13 March.

Borders will also open for skilled workers(earning 1.5 times the median wage) from 13 March and from 12 April, up to 5000 international students will be able to come to New Zealand for semester 2.

MIQ has been removed for most travellers in phased reconnection and replaced by self-isolation and tests on-arrival. MIQ, however, will continue to be used for “high-risk travellers such as those who are unvaccinated”.

This was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern while addressing a meeting jointly hosted by Mind Lab and Business New Zealand this morning.

The government’s reconnecting plan to rest of the world was also confirmed this morning by COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins and Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi.  

The Government’s reconnecting plan will see all New Zealanders and key visa holders able to start to enter the country over the coming three months, assisting with the economic recovery and immediately address worker shortages. 

Details of the five- step plan announced today are:

Explaining the self-isolation requirements in steps 1 & 2, Chris Hipkins said “The self-isolation requirements for travellers will mirror the way we treat contacts of cases in New Zealand. That means a current requirement of 10 days, but that will drop to 7 days when we move to phase two of our pandemic plan as cases rise. 

“All arrivals will be provided three rapid antigen tests at the airport, one for use on day 0/1, and one for use on day 5/6, with one extra for backup. This approach means we will continue to identify cases that enter though the border and limit their wider contact with the community.”

This plan, according to the Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi, is expected to address skills and labour shortages as Working Holiday Visa schemes will re-open.

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“From 13 March, just over 5 weeks away, we will start re-opening Working Holiday Visa schemes. This will supply urgently needed workers for the tourism, hospitality, wine and horticultural sectors as well as providing some much-needed visitor spending.

“Also from 13 March, we’re simplifying the application process for the critical worker border exception. Skilled workers with job offers paying at least 1.5 times, instead of double, the median wage will be able to come in without the need to demonstrate that their skills aren’t readily obtainable in New Zealand,”Kris Faafoi said.

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