New Zealand Borders Reopening – Update!

Our last blog on this topic in February 2022 outlined the Government’s initial plan to reopen the New Zealand borders in 5-steps.  That has already started to happen with the opening of the Working Holiday Schemes as of 13th March 2022.

Since then, the Government made a further ‘surprise’ announcement on 16th March 2022 that it was bringing forward the date of opening the border to Australian citizens and residents.  This group of travellers were included in Step 4 of the initial plan, to arrive from July 2022.   The good news for many is that is now brought forward to Wednesday 13th April 2022 in time for the Australian school holidays.

Another change in the initial plan is that from Monday 2nd May 2022, vaccinated travellers from visa-waiver countries such as the UK, US, Japan, Germany, Korea, and Singapore, and those with existing (onshore and offshore) holders of visitor visas, will be able to arrive in New Zealand.  The initial plan had them arriving from July 2022.


Accredited Employer Work Visa

It appears more information is provided under Step 4 where the borders will open from July 2022 to Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders (limited to those paid above the median wage).  To account for the changes in the AEWV and further decision to come from the Government, the key dates are now:

  • 23rd March 2022: Employers can apply for accreditation
  • 20th June 2022: Accredited employers can submit a job check
  • 4th July 2022: Migrants can apply for an AEWV where the employer is accredited and a job check completed

The Government is considering whether there will be any exemptions to the median wage rule (set to increase to $27.76 an hour from 4th July 2022) and whether additional restrictions should apply for limited number of roles.  Watch this space for more information to come.


The other groups of travellers appear to remain unchanged for now:

  • Step 3 (effective from 13th April 2022) the border reopens to
    Temporary work and student visa holders who still meet requirements of their visas, and up to 5000 international students
  • Step 5 (effective from October 2022), the border reopens and normal visa processing resumes for all categories, including visitor and student visas.  Border exceptions will be phased out.
    Overall, this is welcome news, but there are still more details needed especially for Steps 3 and 5 to give further certainty for many families who remain separated; for those who remain stuck overseas, and employers who remain without key workers.


If you are needing guidance and assistance with your plans to travel to New Zealand in 2022, be sure to contact us for professional advice and representation.