New Zealand will be reopening its borders to New Zealanders and key visa holders over the coming three months, with a full border reopening targeted for October 2022.
Starting from 23.59 on February 27, vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers from Australia will be allowed to enter without having to go through managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).
Two weeks later from 23.59 on March 13, New Zealanders and other eligible travellers under the current border settings from the rest of the world will be able to enter.
This includes skilled workers earning at least 1.5 times the median wage, as well as successful Working Holiday Scheme visa applicants. This move will supply urgently needed workers for the tourism, hospitality, wine and horticultural sectors, as well as provide some visitor spending.
Next, from 23.59 on April 12, borders will be open to current offshore temporary visa holders, who can still meet the relevant visa requirements, and visas for critical workforce individuals that do not meet the 1.5 times median wage requirement.
By July 2022, the New Zealand government is planning to open its borders to anyone from Australia, as well as for countries with visa-waiver travel. The final step in the reopening plan is planned for October 2022, when borders open to travellers globally, and all visa categories made available.
Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins and immigration minister Kris Faafoi said in a press release: “With 94 per cent of our population fully vaccinated, and 92 per cent of those over 18 now eligible for a booster by the end of February, it’s time to shift gears in our Covid-19 response to focus on reconnection and recovery.”
“Before Covid, New Zealand was issuing over one million visitor visas per year. What’s being announced today is about gearing up in manageable steps to fully reopen as safely as possible to enable us to live with COVID but not be overwhelmed by it,” Faafoi said.