Untitled design - 2020-12-06T041246.538.

New border exception for normally resident work visa holders

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

What is it?

The Government is creating a new “border exception category” that will open up in October, to enable the return of some temporary work visa holders who are overseas and have strong, ongoing links to New Zealand.

This has come about by the business community pushing hard for this measure. The Government estimates about 850 people may be eligible for this exception category. Many of which have lived in New Zealand for years and have built lives here with the hope and expectation that they would be able to stay long-term in New Zealand.

What is the “border exception category”?

It is an exception category that will allow the return of some temporary work visa holders, currently overseas.

Who is eligible?

To be considered for the new border exception and to demonstrate a strong and ongoing connection to New Zealand with realistic prospects of remaining here long-term, visa holders must:

  • still hold their job in New Zealand, or continue to operate a business in New Zealand; and

  • hold either a work to residence visa, or an essential skills visa, that is not subject to the stand-down period, or an entrepreneur visa; and

  • have departed New Zealand on or after 1 December 2019; and

  • have lived in New Zealand for at least two years, or, if living in New Zealand for at least one year, have one of the following:

  • an entrepreneur work visa and operating a business in New Zealand (and operated it before departing New Zealand);

  • their dependent children with them in New Zealand (for at least six months);

  • parents or adult siblings who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand;

  • submitted an application for residence by 31 July 2020.

  • have held a visa at the time of departing that does not expire before the end of 2020, or, if expiring before that date, have applied for a further visa by 10 August 2020.


If you think that you may be eligible, get in touch with us for a discussion