COVID 19 CORONA VIRUS VISA RELATED ISSUSES IN NEW ZEALAND "The pandemic has lead to issues for New Zealand employers & people in New Zealand on visas. We are in constant contact with Government to ensure our clients receive up to date advice..."

NEW ZEALAND COVID 19 BORDER SETTINGSGet up to date advice on the latest border settings and changes for your international workforce needs.


If you are a New Zealand employer & need urgent strategic advice on dealing with work visa issues under Covid 19,  please email or call Work Visa Expert Immigration Lawyer Craig Hutchesson: 021 082 42704.

We offer 24/7 support & assistance to INZ Accredited Employer clients.

If you are a visa holder for emergency advice please email or TXT your name and some background details to 021 082 42704.  We will reply within 4 hours to any emails or TXT messages.


We encourage all New Zealand employers  & work visa holders to work together to find a solution to the crisis.  Due to the serious impact on their lives & visa status, redundancy should be a last resort for companies employing people on work visas.

Other options include:

  • applying for the New Zealand government Covid 19 wage subsidy.
  • discussing annual leave arrangements with your foreign workers
  • exploring unpaid leave arrangements by mutual agreement with your foreign workers.

Employees taking paid annual leave is fine.  Taking unpaid annual leave or reducing the working hours of any work visa holders would usually have a serious impact on their work visa & eligibility for residence visa.

However, due to the exceptional circumstances facing employers in New Zealand, exceptions will apply. Subject to the advice below (which includes notifying & seeking permisson from INZ), work visa holders may be able to take annual leave & unpaid leave (by mutual agreement) for as long as the lockdown is in place.  Some employees may need time off to look after children due to school closures, others may need to look after elderly parents stressed by the virus outbreak.

If you  reduce work visa holders hours or reach a mutual agreement for the visa holder to take extended unpaid leave, contact us so we can prepare a fully documented submission to Immigration New Zealand. It is imperative you notify Immigration New Zealand as soon as possible & request an exemption to the work visa conditions (minimum salary & hours per annum)


We reccomend New Zealand employers implement our 15 Step Covid Response Plan (below) if your business is not able to sustain the salary of your work visa holders during or immediately after lock-down.

  1. Apply for the New Zealand government Covid 19 wage subsidy if your company is eligible.
  2. Explore immediate cost savings across your entire business – not just salaries.
  3. Look to recovering any unpaid debts to your company urgently & implement strict debtor controls.
  4. Approach your bank for temporary cashflow funding if required
  5. Approach your landlord for a rent holiday.
  6. Contact creditors & try to set up more flexible repayment options for any company debts or loan agreements.
  7. Cancel any expensive business or personal purchases that are non-essential
  8. Check your business insurance policies carefully for any business interuption or emergency situation clauses.
  9. Review & discuss annual leave arrangements with your foreign workers & New Zealand workers.
  10. Explore reduced hours with any employees the company identifies as high cost / low productivity & flexible on this during lockdown.
  11. Discuss possible temporary salary reductions with senior executives by mutual agreement
  12. Explore unpaid leave arrangements by mutual agreement with all of your workers who can afford to take this. Both New Zealand workers & foreign workers may want to take extended unpaid leave for family reasons. Check & see.
  13. Get in touch with relevant cultural support organisations and / or Government agencies who may be able to assist your work visa holders with any financial issues they have if they lose their jobs.
  14. Look for ways you can assist foreign employees to return to their home country if necessary.
  15. Put your work visa holder in touch with an experienced Immigration Lawyer to apply for a visitor visa to remain lawfully in New Zealand.

It is important all of the above steps are fully documented in writing & follow New Zealand laws.

We understand the stress on your business under lockdown. Careful planning & execution of the above steps should get your business through this.

All information on our website is for initial information purposes only & is not legal advice..  If you require legal advice contact Migration Lawyers on or telephone 021 082 42704. 

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