The New Zealand border will reopen its borders in five stages from February 27 at midnight. The borders will be opened to vaccinated Kiwis and other current eligible travellers from Australia in the first stage and the same groups from the rest of the world on March 13.
With this reconnecting plan, all New Zealanders and key visa holders able will be able to enter the country over the coming three months, assisting with the economic recovery and immediately addressing worker shortages, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Thursday.
As the country opens borders, vaccinated New Zealanders and eligible travellers from Australia would not have to stay in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities. Following this, on March 13, New Zealanders and eligible travellers from around the world will be able to come home, Ardern said.
“While travellers will no longer need to stay in MIQ we are maintaining border measures to reduce the spread of the virus,” she said. The self-isolation requirements for travellers will be ten days, but that will drop to seven days when New Zealand moves to phase two of the pandemic plan as cases rise, she added.
On April 12, The border extension will be extended to include a large international student cohort of up to 5,000 students from April 12. The reopening of borders to visa-free tourists is also likely to be brought forward, with July being the latest date, the prime minister said. While in October, the border would be opened to all other visitors and students who require a visa to enter New Zealand, with normal visa processing resuming, she added.
While the passengers will be provided three rapid antigen tests at the time of arrival at the airport, one kit is for use on day 0/1, and one for use on day 5/6, with one extra for backup, Ardern said.
The Working Holiday Visa schemes will also be reopened in five weeks. This would ensure the supply of urgently needed workers for the tourism, hospitality, wine and horticultural sectors and provide some much-needed visitor spending, said Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi.
“Before Covid, New Zealand was issuing over one million visitor visas per year. What’s being announced today is about gearing up in manageable steps to fully reopen as safely as possible to enable us to live with Covid but not be overwhelmed by it,” said Kris Faafoi.