New Zealand (NZ) has moved to Alert Level 2 and Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has resumed the processing of both residence and temporary entry visa applications. Strict priorities continue to apply, but this is a step forward.

Priority order for visa processing

Immigration officers will process visas as follows, in the date order they are received by INZ.

Residence class visas

First priority will be given to applicants already in NZ with a job offer where:

  • Applicants earn an hourly wage equivalent to or higher than twice the median wage (currently $51.00 an hour or $106,080 a year).
  • Applicants hold current occupational registration, where occupational registration is required.

Temporary entry class visas

First priority will be given to:

  • Applications for critical work to support the NZ Government's response to COVID-19.
  • Applications where there is an urgent humanitarian need.
  • Applications to travel under the APEC travel programme.
  • Diplomatic visas.
  • All other temporary entry class visa applications where the applicant is already in NZ.

Second priority will be given to residence and temporary entry class visa applications where applicants are not already in NZ.

Our advice

As NZ moves through the different alert levels, INZ's ability to process visas will continue to increase. Applicants are encouraged to apply for visas, but for the time being priority will be given to those already in NZ.

We will keep you updated of further changes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.