October 21, 2021

EOI starts 30 Sept under pilot plan to reopen NZ borders

By: Gurbir Singh

The goal of safely re-opening our borders and developing new ways for people to travel will start with a self-isolation pilot, and Expressions of Interest (EOI) will open on 30 Sept.

This was confirmed today by COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins.

Participants in this pilot plan will be restricted only to New Zealand citizens or holders of a resident visa with a right to re-enter New Zealand and will have conditions stipulated to ensure Covid-19 stays out of New Zealand.

Selection will be made from EOI by a ballot system.

“The pilot is to explore a new pathway of entry into New Zealand and allows the Government to test operational readiness, identify areas where further work is required to scale up the approach and provide valuable insights into our options for the future,” Hipkins said.

 “Expressions of Interest are being called for up to 150 people to participate in the pilot.

 “The pilot is aimed at business travellers, to travel overseas on a short business trip and self-isolate in approved accommodation for 14 days on their return.

 “Self-isolation must be in a private dwelling with no shared ventilation system. The dwelling must have cellular coverage. Monitoring and testing over the self-isolation period will be mandatory.

 “Participants are required to be a New Zealand citizen or holders of a resident visa with a right to re-enter New Zealand, be fully-vaccinated in New Zealand with the Pfizer vaccine, and not travel to or through very high-risk countries. Travel must be for business purposes which cannot be carried out from New Zealand.

 “Participants will be selected through an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process.  Employers will need to apply on behalf of their employees and can submit their EOI from 9am, Thursday 30 September until 5pm, Saturday 9 October.

 “Businesses are encouraged to check the criteria carefully. As demand is expected to be higher than the numbers in the pilot, all eligible EOIs will be put into a ballot and spread across the six-week arrival timeframe.

 “Public safety and keeping COVID-19 out of the community still remains our top priority,” Chris Hipkins said.  

When in isolation, participants must:

  • remain in their place of self-isolation for at least 14 days. They will not be allowed to leave the property at any time
  • isolate alone, or together with others from the same travelling party. They cannot isolate with family or any other household members
  • not allow any visitors to enter the premises, aside from medical staff for testing purposes and emergency or other essential services if required
  • provide their own food and supplies (contactless deliveries are allowed)
  • comply with all testing requirements set out by the Ministry of Health, and
  • comply with all monitoring requirements.