COVID-19 immigration powers to be extended

 COVID-19 immigration powers to be 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.

“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 Kris 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.

“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,” said Kris Faafoi.

Media contact: Peter Stevens 021 871 354

Peter Stevens Press Secretary |Office of Hon Kris Faafoi MP

Minister of Justice, Minister of Broadcasting and Media, Minister of Immigration

Executive Wing | Private Bag 18041 | Parliament Buildings | Wellington 6160 | New Zealand

DDI +64 4 817 6719 | 021 871 354

Authorised by Hon Kris Faafoi MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6011

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: