In a further change announced on 9 December related to the continued fall-out associated with the Afghan Nationals case covered in our recent articles, the Minister of Immigration has now officially cleared a new cohort of resident visa holders to enter the country.
With effect from 8 December 2021, any individual who holds a resident visa that allows entry to New Zealand for the first time as a holder of that visa, and as long as that visa was obtained from a residence application accepted for consideration by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) before 19 March 2020, can now enter New Zealand. This will apply to all residence categories, but we imagine it will be particularly relevant to investor migrants.
In terms of resident visa applications that were submitted prior to 19 March 2020 and are yet to be processed and/or resident visas issued, we understand INZ are still yet to receive a directive from the Minister on those applications at this stage. However, we would expect that guidance will be provided soon in line with the direction of the Court. This should mean that those applications will start processing again and applicants will be issued resident visas which can now be used for entry.
Unfortunately however, this change in policy does not go as far as some wish – covering off applications for residence class visas that were submitted on or after 19 March 2020 too. This is further confirmation (in our view) of the government’s intention to maintain a very tight border moving into 2022 by keeping strict control on numbers coming into the system.