As you will know, New Zealand is now at Alert Level 4, meaning that people must stay at home and all businesses must remain closed for the next four weeks, except for essential services and lifeline utilities.
Under alert level 4, INZ must also close our visa processing offices in New Zealand. This significantly reduces our ability to operate, so we are only able to process a small number of priority applications.
The Government has also announced an epidemic management notice to control the spread of COVID-19. This notice, in relation to immigration matters, comes into effect on Thursday 2 April 2020.
- Responding to Government, priorities around border measures has been our immediate priority.
- All INZ’s overseas offices are closed for the foreseeable future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have a small number of staff operating from our Head Office in Wellington, their priority is dealing with any COVID-19 requests.
- Responses are being prioritised based on the direction of Government for exceptional cases. No other visa applications are being processed at this time. We also must prioritise Section 61 requests and temporary visa holders who expire on or before 1 April 2020.
- INZ is committed to ensuring that those people currently in the country who are on a temporary visa do not become unlawful through no fault of their own while they are unable to leave New Zealand, so we will also be working on implementing the extensions to those temporary visas as a result of the Epidemic Management Notice.