IMMIGRATION NEW ZEALAND UPDATE 26 JUNE 2020
I have received the following email from Immigration NZ. As below:
A new Epidemic Management Notice (EMN) was issued on 24 June 2020.
There are no changes for visa holders under the new EMN.
The first EMN took effect on 2 April 2020. It meant that holders of a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who were in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 had their visas extended to 25 September 2020.
All visa extensions resulting from the original EMN remain in place for individuals who are still in New Zealand on the visa that was extended. Individuals whose visa extensions remain in place to 25 September, as well as individuals who did not receive a visa extension and have visas due to expire soon, should be working on a plan to either apply for a new visa or depart New Zealand.
Please use the Visa Verification Service to confirm that your clients’ visas currently remain extended to 25 September 2020, and notify them accordingly, or send them instructions about how to use the Visa Verification Service themselves. Information about the Visa Verification Service is on the INZ website. It requires a simple registration process using RealMe.
Visa holders can check the expiry of their visa by looking at the Visa Verification Service (shows visa extension date). Employers and education providers can use VisaView to verify the expiry date of the visa of their worker or student.
Question: The Epidemic Management Notice (EMN) is being changed. What does this mean?
Answer: The EMN relating to immigration matters took effect on 2 April 2020. It had some impacts on people in New Zealand with temporary entry class visas (and rules around detention). For most people, the impact of this notice was that holders of student, work, visitor, limited or interim visas that would have expired between 02 April 2020 and 09 July 2020 inclusive, and who were in New Zealand on 02 April 2020, had their visas extended to 25 September 2020.
The EMN was modified on 24 June 2020, in line with when the first notice could have expired. Under the current EMN no further visas have been extended.
Question: My visa was extended to 25 September 2020 under the EMN. Does the change to the EMN mean the extension on my visa is also cancelled?
Answer: No, the expiry date remains the same. Visas extended under the original EMN remain valid until 25 September 2020. If you have been granted a further visa after your visa was extended, you are subject to the conditions of your new visa including the new expiry date.
Question: How do I check whether my visa was extended under the EMN?
Answer: If your visa was extended by the original EMN, an email was sent to your most recent email address in April. You can also confirm your visa expiry date using the Visa Verification Service. Your employer or education provider can check using Visa View. No visas have been extended when the EMN was changed on 24 June.
Question: I have a visa which expires after 9 July 2020. Will my visa be extended? The EMN extended all temporary entry class visas expiring between 02 April 2020 and 09 July 2020 for those who were in New Zealand on 02 April 2020. The EMN has now been changed, and the current EMN will not make any further extensions to visa expiry.
Answer: It is the visa holder’s responsibility to ensure they remain lawfully in New Zealand. If your current visa expires soon, you must make arrangements to either apply for a new visa or depart New Zealand.
Question: Will there be any other extensions granted in the future?
Answer: It is unlikely there would be any further extensions using an epidemic management notice. Specific groups of visas could be extended under new Immigration Act provisions, but the government is still considering options on this. Any new information will be available on our website, so please keep checking it.
We acknowledge there are restrictions in place for people to travel out of New Zealand, but it is the visa holder’s responsibility to ensure they are able to remain in New Zealand lawfully, or make arrangements to leave New Zealand before their visa expires.
Question: Why is there still an Epidemic Management Notice if most of the provisions are no longer needed?
Answer: There is one immigration provision under the EMN that is still necessary, for people who are detained and liable to be deported, but constraints in the current COVID-19 environment mean deportation is not possible.
In some cases it may be necessary for Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to detain people who are liable for deportation, or turned around at the border, to ensure that they depart from New Zealand when this is possible. In the current COVID-19 environment, it has not always been possible for INZ to deport these detained people. This is because of transit and border restrictions around the globe, and the difficulty in providing security escorts for high risk deportees. Section 341 of the Immigration Act has therefore been retained as it may be necessary to extend some detention periods while INZ faces constraints in deporting detainees in the current COVID-19 environment. Section 341 relates to the period of time spent in immigration detention during the epidemic period and how that is counted for consideration of continued detention.
Question: Why was the visa extension needed originally?
Answer: During lockdown, the ability to lodge and process visa applications was limited. The extension of visas that would have otherwise expired during this time meant holders of those visas would not become unlawful through no fault of their own in the short term. Now that lodgement and processing has resumed for onshore visas applications, the provision that extended those visas is no longer necessary. However, extensions already applied by the original EMN are not affected.
If you have any questions get in contact with Immigration NZ:
Contact Centre (Toll-free from NZ landlines only) 0508 558 855
Auckland: 09 914 4100 (try pressing different options to get through to an operator. People eventually do)
The call centre is open 6am -10pm 5 days a week
Email: [email protected]
Or you are welcome to contact licensed immigration advisors mentioned on this website