Assuaging some concerns amongst temporary visa holders, Immigration New Zealand has assured that it will take a sympathetic view while assessing any Covid-impacted disruption on any future resident visa applications.

There has been a brewing concern within some section of temporary work visa holders who have experienced significant work-related disruptions that can potentially jeopardise their future applications for the resident visa as they might fail to meet definite visa conditions.

In the front of the queue are those on Work to Residence visas, which have a clear visa condition for remaining and working in the same job for at least 24 months before they become eligible for applying for resident visas.

Many Work to residence visa holders were caught overseas when NZ borders were closed behind them on March 19, before being allowed back in a staged manner in an announcement by Immigration Minister in September 2020.

Given that such visa holders were often working on critical shortage skills that were not easily replaceable in New Zealand, their employers have kept their employment not only open but also patiently waited for them to come back and restart the work.

Recently many such temporary work visa holders - who undoubtedly have been extremely fortunate in comparison to tens of thousands who still remain locked out of borders – have been worried about their visa conditions given the current uncertain immigration environment.

Responding to a query by the Indian Weekender in this regard, an INZ spokesperson said, “Immigration New Zealand is aware that some Work to Residence visa holders may have had their timeframes in their jobs affected by COVID-19, due to circumstances beyond their control.

“This will be taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis when their Residence from Work visas are processed in future, provided that this is noted and an explanation provided on the application,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also reassuringly pointed towards the fact how INZ had earlier taken into consideration for some resident visa holders who were outside New Zealand and were recently granted a 12-month extension using the special powers granted to the Minister for Immigration in response to Covid-19.

What it means for future applicants of Resident Visas

The temporary work visa holders who have faced some significant disruptions because of Covid-19 related border lockdown are encouraged to provide a detailed explanation along with their applications for visa explaining how things beyond their control had prevented them from meeting visa-guidelines.