Re-balancing the Immigration System, Reopening the New Zealand Border

11 May 2022

Kia ora,

The New Zealand border will be fully reopened by 1st August 2022.

All work visa categories, including the new Accredited Employer Work Visa, will open for applications on 4th July 2022.

At 23:59 (NZST) on 31 July 2022 the maritime border will reopen, as will applications for student and visitor visas.

As New Zealand reconnects with the world, the Government is re-balancing the immigration system to support a more productive, higher-wage economy.

Employers will have greater access to skilled workers, families and friends can reunite, international students can return, and welcoming international visitors will boost our tourism and events sectors


Accredited Employer Work Visa

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is being introduced on 4th July 2022.

The visa will be available mainly to workers earning over the median wage. From 4th July the median wage will be $27.76 per hour.

The Essential Skills Work Visa will close to applications on 3rd July 2022.

From December 2022, most partners of temporary migrant workers will need to qualify for their own AEWV or Visitor Visa.

In 2023,  all employers will require to be accredited to employ any migrant, including those with open work rights (such as working holidaymakers or students).

Sector Arrangements

A new green list of occupations will make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for specified high-skilled, hard-to-fill occupations, including in the construction, engineering, trades, health, and ICT sectors.

Transition arrangements will allow for certain roles within construction, care, tourism and hospitality sectors to be recruited at rates slightly lower than median wage.

The Green List Occupations

Roles exempt from the AEWV median wage threshold


Open Work Visas

On 9 May 2022, open work visas were granted by special direction to those in New Zealand holding one of the following visas expiring between 9 May and 31 December 2022 (inclusive):

  • ◾Essential Skills Work Visa
  • ◾Post Study Work Visa
  • ◾Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa
  • ◾Eligible Ukraine nationals granted a temporary visa on 10 March 2022.

The new open work visas:

  • ◾are valid from 9 May 2022 until two years from the expiry date of the previous visa,
  • ◾allow the holder to work for any employer anywhere in New Zealand and,
  • ◾allow the holder to leave and re-enter New Zealand.


New visas have also been granted to partners and dependent children of the new open work visa holder.

To be eligible, family must have:

  • ◾held a visa based on their relationship to the work visa holder that expired between 9 May and 31 December 2022 (inclusive), and
  • ◾been in New Zealand on 9 May 2022.

The new visa is valid from 9 May 2022 until two years from the expiry date of the previous visa.

Partners and dependent children who held work, student or visitor visas based on their relationship to the work visa holder will be granted the same type of visa.

Work to Residence Visas

On 9 May 2022, the following types of work to residence visas expiring between 9 May and 31 December 2022 (inclusive) held by those in New Zealand were extended by special direction by six months:

  • ◾Talent (Accredited Employers)
  • ◾Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports)
  • ◾Long Term Skill Shortage List
  • ◾Skilled Migrant Category Job Search Visa
  • ◾South Island Contribution.

The extensions are valid for six months from the date of expiry of the previous visa.


Visas expiring between 9 May and 31 December 2022 (inclusive) held by partners and dependent children were also extended by six months.

To be eligible, family must:

  • ◾hold a visa based on their relationship to the work visa holder, and
  • ◾have been in New Zealand on 9 May 2022.

    Cost, visa conditions
    There is no cost to the visa holder for these extensions or new visas.Visa conditions stay the same. Any visa conditions that have been varied also stay the same.

Visa Records

Eligible visa holders should receive an email by the end of the month (May 2022). Online records for the new visas and extensions will be updated by 25 May 2022.


2021 Resident Visa applications

Those granted a new visa by the 9 May 2022 special direction can apply for a 2021 Resident Visa if the visa held before was eligible.


Travel Requirements

All non-New Zealand citizens must hold a valid visa or New Zealand electronic Travel Authority to travel to New Zealand.

COVID-19 restrictions and requirements still apply.

Source: – Immigration New Zealand