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Nearly 20 months after New Zealand closed its borders to non-residents, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
On Wednesday, New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that New Zealand will open its borders in steps in 2022. The first two steps only apply to fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and resident visa holders, let's skip those and discuss the step that will affect students and other temporary visa applicants:
Yes. 30 April is the golden date, but it won't work as a simple switch. There are a few questions you may have, so let's discuss.
Although we don't know for sure, based on what Minister Chris Hipkins mentioned before, and what Australia is doing, it is highly likely international students and skilled workers will be among the first groups to be allowed in.
Yes. Although the requirement for Managed Isolation and Quarantine will be removed for most travellers from January 2022, there will be still a mandatory period of self-isolation. Further requirements will be:
The general requirements for self-isolation will be provided in December.
For international students, we believe the government will require each institution to provide a solution to isolate students upon their arrival. Many universities, private institutions and schools submitted their proposals at the beginning of the pandemic wishing to self-isolate their students. It will be time for them to finally bring their proposals to life.
For other temporary visa holders, we are not sure at this point. We will have to wait for more details.
Unlike many other countries, New Zealand accepts most of the vaccines that have been approved by at least one country. You can find information on eligible vaccines at Vaccines – COVID19 Vaccine Tracker (trackvaccines.org).
We are waiting for more information release from the government.
Visa processing for most individuals who are outside New Zealand is still suspended until at least 6 February 2022. We guess (and hope) the government will not extend this moratorium again, and will instead start to process visas in preparation for the border reopening. It is possible they may even start before.
There are worries about how INZ will handle the pressure of processing the large volume of one-off 2021 Resident Visa applications, and then visas from all around the world, especially now that its overseas offices are permanently closed. Well, we can only hope they have good plans and systems in place.
Now it is time to start preparing for 2022.
When it comes to planning for your New Zealand study, there are two things to pay attention to now:
We are very excited to see there is finally a date we can plan everything around!
New Zealand has been one of the safest countries in the world throughout the pandemic, and with its beautiful nature, friendly people, strong economy, and migrant-friendly attitude, we believe it will go back to being a popular destination for all students and workers.
Choose New Zealand is excited to welcome you in 2022!
Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.