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Border Exception


Border Exception for Critical workers.

Border exceptions for ‘critical health worker’ and ‘other critical worker has been put in place effectively on and after 11 September 2020.

‘Critical health workers’ are agreed to by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

‘Other critical worker’ can come into New Zealand to work on a request made by the employer’s basis of them falling under the category of ‘other critical workers.’

Other critical workers can work for short term (6 months) or long term.

Criteria for short term ‘other critical worker’

A critical worker, requested to come to New Zealand by their employers for short period of time must have;

  • unique experience and ;

  • technical or specialist skills that are not obtainable in New Zealand, or

  • They are undertaking a time-critical role where if the person does not come to New Zealand, then the project, work or event will stop or will be severely compromised, or significant cost will be incurred.

A short term other critical worker must be undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of:

  1. The delivery of an approved major infrastructure project or government approved event or a major government-approved programme

  2. An approved government-to-government agreement

  3. Work that brings significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy.

Criteria for long term other critical workers

A worker coming to New Zealand for the long term (six months or longer) is considered an ‘other critical worker’ if they meet one of the criteria for short term workers and:

  • they earn at least twice the median salary (currently NZD $106,080 a year), or

  • they have a role that is essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a government funded or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and has the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work, or

  • they are undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of:

  1. a government-approved event, or

  2. major government-approved programme, or

  3. approved major infrastructure project.

Humanitarian Reasons – ‘Other Critical worker’

Humanitarian reasons are exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature that make it strongly desirable for the applicant to travel and enter New Zealand.

Relevant factors when considering if humanitarian reasons justify the grant of a visa under these instructions include:

  • the applicant’s connection to New Zealand

  • the applicant’s connection to the place they are currently located

  • whether New Zealand is their primary place of residence, and their period of absence from New Zealand

  • whether the applicant has any alternative options

  • the impact of not granting a visa and entry permission to the applicant.

Any partners or dependent children of an ‘other critical worker’ who has been granted a visa or a variation of conditions on the basis of this critical purpose, may be granted a visa to travel to New Zealand together with, or separately from, the other critical worker.

Source: NZ employer COVID-19 information. (2020). Immigration New Zealand.

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