Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is to resume processing all offshore residence applications ahead of the border gradually reopening next year.
In a recent court case it was ruled that the processing of residence applications submitted offshore before the border closed in March 2020 should be completed.
Around 2,300 residence applications across all categories which had been received prior to the border closure remain to be decided.
The Government has now decided to remove the restriction that prevents first time resident visa holders granted a resident visa offshore from travelling to New Zealand.
As a result of the border restrictions imposed last year because of COVID-19 processing of most visa applications offshore was halted.
The Government will also decide how to enable people who applied for a resident visa after the border restrictions came into force in March 2020 to travel to New Zealand. There are around 3,000 applications on hand in this category.
Around 4,000 people offshore who already hold resident visas but who were not able to travel are also covered by the High Court decision. This means these visa holders can now come here if they meet the relevant health requirements (such as holding vouchers for Managed Isolation and Quarantine and undertaking pre departure tests).
INZ General Manager, Border and Visa Operations, Nicola Hogg, says the decision means residence processing can now recommence for new offshore residence applications.
“We will be in touch with applicants shortly to update them on their applications,” Hogg says.
Those who travel in 2022 may be able to enter without quarantining, depending on the border restrictions in place.