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COVID-19: New Zealand to start opening borders on 27 February 2022

COVID-19: New Zealand to start opening borders on 27 February 2022

In an address to a Business NZ Conference today (3 February 2022) New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a 5 stage program to open up the country.

It’s a broad and graduated brush, but at least its a plan:

  • Feb 27
    Vaccinated returning Kiwis from Australia will have to self-isolate – but not in a Government-run managed isolation facility (MIQ). Critical workers in Australia are also included.
  • March 13
    New Zealanders, some critical workers and their families from the rest of the world will be able to return under similar conditions. These first two stages include both citizens and permanent residents.
  • April
    Non-citizens with visas – like international students and some skilled workers – will be able to return without spending time in MIQ.
  • July (or earlier)
    The country to open up to non-citizens from visa-waiver countries – like Australia, the USA, and UK. Ardern says there is a “high-likelihood” of things moving faster
  • October
    New Zealand opens to the rest of the world and normal visa processing resumes

There is obviously more detail to come, but this is a good sign.

At the moment, New Zealanders wishing to return to their home country have to enter a kind of lottery to gain one of the restricted 4500 government-managed isolation facilities (MIQ). Although relatively effective in controlling the entry of the virus, it has been very unpopular with returning Kiwi’s. The ability to ‘home quarantine’ for these returnees from 27 February will be greeted with joy by ex-pat’s I imagine.

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Incidentally, the July date for allowing Australians to enter the land of the long white cloud also means that I can go ahead with my planned visit to the North Island – already delayed twice due to the dreaded COVID.

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