The Government has outlined the measures being taken to help foreign workers, after Queenstown mayor Jim Boult called on immigration minister Iain Lees-Galloway to offer more help for foreign nationals laid off because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the Government’s epidemic management notice relating to immigration, individuals with a temporary work, student, visitor, interim or limited visa expiring before 1 April 2020 who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply online for a new visa.
This will result in an interim visa being issued.
Travellers with a temporary visa due to expire between 1 April and 9 July 2020 will have their visas extended to 25 September. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed directly to all visa holders – these individuals do not need to do anything.
It added that migrants who lose their job – a common occurrence in Queenstown which has been hard-hit by the collapse in tourism – will be able to access the emergency benefit.
Immigration New Zealand also set out the position for those who have lost their job but are not able to return home, as international flights dwindle, borders close and lockdown conditions kick-in.
In this case, the agency can consider a new visa or change in visa conditions which may enable them to take another role. It aims to be “flexible and compassionate on these issues and will work on a case by case basis.”
However, it added: “We do need to be aware that there will likely be more New Zealanders looking for work as the economic impact hits and New Zealanders are prioritised for work where possible, as happens normally.”
INZ said its officials are also “continuing to look at further options as the situation evolves.”
The New Zealand Government’s epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect on Thursday 2 April 2020, as announced by prime minister Jacinda Ardern earlier this week.
Boult said yesterday that he had an urgent virtual meeting with immigration minister Iain Lees-Galloway to get help for Queenstown’s migrant workforce.
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