While the latest COVID strain/the UK variant is causing the pandemic scare to increase again, there is some relief for the people staying in New Zealand. The country had taken several strict measures in the pandemic and imposed international border restrictions to save the citizens and expats living in NZ. While Immigration New Zealand continues to play safe, the news of Visitor Visa holders being permitted to prolong their stay in New Zealand has been welcomed like a breath of fresh air.

Immigration New Zealand is working proactively along with the Government and other sectors to revive the country and its entire ecosystem amidst the COVID threat worldwide. As a result, it introduces Work Visa extensions, changes regarding international students visas, and several other relevant changes to protect its citizens and simultaneously give them a way to thrive.

The latest news surrounding the Visitor Visa holders permitted to prolong their stay is a positive step taken by the Immigration Department. It will keep the indigenous population safe from the threat of the new virus variants and help expats and foreign nationals in the country care about their safety.

Let's learn about the latest ease in visa restrictions and how it affects everyone.

What is an NZ Visitor Visa?

With the NZ Visitor Visa, you can enjoy the charms that the country offers. You can also avail a Group Visitor Visa if you are traveling with family or as part of a vast group. If you want to seek information regarding the NZ Visitor Visa's application and processing, reach out to our Immigration consultants. These people are friendly and will walk you through the entire process. Book a consultation to know more.

Latest Announcements Regarding Visitor Visa Extensions in NZ

According to the honorable Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi, NZ has made special arrangements for people who had been dwelling in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic with a Visitor Visa's help. While the pandemic continues to ravage the foreign nationals' home communities, INZ's latest announcement has given them some solid ground beneath their feet.

The Government officially announced the following.

  • There will be a 2-month automatic Visitor Visa extension for almost every Visitor Visa holders
  • There is also a temporary waiver of the time spent in New Zealand rule that applies for the visitor stays

This automatic visa extension affects more than 12,500 people whose visas expire on or before March 31, 2021.

Minister Speaks

Why NZ Visitor Visa extension? Let's hear it from the Minister himself.

Safety and Security of the Foreign Nationals on NZ Soil

According to the honorable Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi, this step ensures the foreign nationals' safety and security who have been staying on NZ soil since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to him, the Government has recognized that several Visitor Visa holders are currently staying in New Zealand and are keen to prolong their stays. They do not want to fly back to their home soil where the pandemic is still at large.

Helping Indigenous Communities to Thrive

The Minister also declared that this decision is supported by the data provided by the national business sector. According to the data, the NZ business and tourism sector has been positively affected by the foreign nationals staying in the country. These foreign visitors have helped the local economies thrive amidst the pandemic.

The Minister also confirmed that the visa extension would apply from the date of expiry. Following the expiry date, the Visitor Visa holders will have to apply for a new visa to further their stay in NZ.

Consequently, the Minister also clarified that this visa extension does not apply to exceptional cases like the COVID-19 short-term two-month Visitor Visa introduced in September 2020.

Temporary Waiver to the Rule Regarding the Duration of Stay

The temporary change to the immigration settings continues further. The Government has also agreed to temporarily relieve the Visitor Visa holders staying in New Zealand by extending their stay duration. The Government will temporarily waive a rule that says Visitor Visa holders can only stay in NZ for nine months out of an 18-month tenure.

The Minister confirmed that most Visitor Visa holders have stayed in NZ for more than nine months due to the pandemic. Waiving the rule will help them override the 'nine months out of 18-month' rule and apply for a further six-month visa.

There is a check to the entire procedure. The Visitor Visa holders whose visas expire after March 31, 2021, are not eligible for the automatic two-month visa extension. On the contrary, they can still apply for a visa that exempts them from the 'nine months out of 18 months' rule. The latter will be valid if they apply for a visa on or before June 30, 2021. The temporary waiver of the nine months will end on June 30, 2021.

What will the applicants need?

The usual proof that they have enough funds to support themselves during their stay in New Zealand is mandatory. They also need to pay for their travel homes at the end of their stay. If you are confused about extending your stay in NZ and applying for a Visitor Visa extension, you can reach our friendly immigration advisors. They will help you through the entire process. Book a consultation now.

Summing Up

The Minister also claimed that these changes were meant to support the visitors facing unprecedented situations in their home communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and do not guarantee further extensions or waivers once these changes expire. The Government expects all migrants and expats to abide by the country's rules and stay in NZ peacefully.

The temporary migrants in NZ without the means of supporting themselves or becoming unlawful are prone to illegal activities and migrant exploitation. If such cases happen, they will be given an illicit status and barred from traveling in NZ or elsewhere in the future. INZ has initiated the entire visa extension procedure from March 5, 2021.