New Zealand will allow visa extensions for visitors and temporary migrants stranded in the country due to travel restrictions, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced.
The extensions will apply to all visitors and temporary migrants who have been unable to leave the country since the border closures were implemented in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Faafoi said the decision to allow visa extensions was taken to help temporary residents in New Zealand, who had no immediate options to return home, get their plans and travel arrangements in order.
He also said there are approximately 19,000 people currently in New Zealand on visitor visas who are unable to return home before their visas are due to expire. All of them will get an automatic five-month extension to their visas.
However, before the extension is applied, Immigration New Zealand must be satisfied about the visitors being genuinely stuck in the country because of the border closures, and that they intend to leave once travel restrictions are lifted. They must also meet good character requirements.
On the other hand, temporary migrants will receive a two-month COVID-19 short-term visitor visa, which will become active once their existing visas expire.
Temporary migrants eligible for the short-term visitor visa extension do not need to meet any specific requirements, such as demonstrating they have enough money to support their prolonged stay in the country.