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  • Bernhard Kreber


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand’s borders will be fully opening two months earlier than originally planned. There will also be a simplification of immigration settings to address the country’s current skill shortages, and speed up economic recovery.

From 11:59pm on 31 July 2022, New Zealand’s international border will reopen to all tourists and visa holders.

Ardern said that this will be welcome news for families, businesses and our migrant communities.


The Government has also announced new rebalanced immigration settings which will help businesses access the key skills they need while ensuring wages and working conditions are improved for everyone.

A large part of this change is the new Green List, which will provide a new streamlined pathway to residency for highly skilled migrants. The list features 85 roles that are currently hard to fill across a number of industries. These include construction engineering, trades, healthcare and technology.

While the plan is to prioritise skilled migrants, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi says that the government will still provide access for specified sectors to lower-paid migrant workers. All employers can also continue to hire working holidaymakers at any wage.

Because the tourism and hospitality industries have been hit hardest by the pandemic, the Government has also agreed to temporarily exempt tourism and hospitality businesses from paying the median wage to recruit migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa into most roles.


The education sector will also benefit from the announcement. All international students who meet the normal criteria for entry can enrol to study in New Zealand from the end of July. There will also be a few key changes made to the current system, according to Education Minister Chris Hipkins. These changes include:

  • Students in non-degree level courses will not get post-study work rights. The only exception to this is if the student is studying and then working in specified shortage and skilled occupations.

  • For degree-level and other eligible international students the length of time they can work after their studies will mirror the time they study in New Zealand.

  • Students will not be able to apply for a second post-study visa in New Zealand.

What Does This Mean For You?

If you are currently outside of New Zealand, and are not sure what this means for you, please get in touch with BK Immigration Law. We can advise whether your skills can help you achieve residency, or provide any other legal assistance you require.


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