Immigration Minister Kris Fafooi has announced major relief that can allow thousands of temporary migrants stuck overseas to return back into the country after remaining stranded overseas for almost six months.

Work visa holders with a job in NZ can now return 

A press release from the office of the Immigration Minister said work visa holders who must have retained their job or business in New Zealand, plus their partners and dependent children, will be able to apply for this exception from early October when the new category opens.

They need to have lived in New Zealand for at least 2 years to be able to enter back in NZ. 

Work visas should have been expiring by end of 2020

Also, when they left New Zealand (after 1st December 2019) they should have valid work visas which were not expiring by the end of 2020, to be eligible to return back under new exceptions. 

The new instructions does provide relief for such temporary work visa holders whose visas would have expired before the end of 2020, if they had already applied for a visa extension before 10th August.

However, this is largely ceremonial relief as most of temporary work visa holders caught overseas since March 2020 would not have been able to apply for visa extension as all off-shore offices of Immigration NZ are closed. 

The Indian Weekender has been contacted by a number of work visa holders who felt being left out from the recently announced relief as their visas were expiring in the months of June - August and they could not apply for a visa extension as Immigration New Zealand had categorically told that it was not processing applications from off-shore applicants.