New Zealand will reopen its borders once again amid the ongoing COVID pandemic. The announcement was made last February 4 by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“Today I want to talk about the next set of changes that will take us on that journey back to a new normal and that is our reconnection with the world,” she said during the press briefing. This will involve the implementation of a five-step plan for reopening international borders through a phased approach. Incoming residents and visitors will no longer need to go through managed isolation and quarantine or MIQ, a mandate that has stirred criticism amongst New Zealanders.
One such case involved pregnant NZ journalist Charlotte Bellis who couldn’t go home due to issues with the MIQ lottery. She was later granted a slot by the government and is scheduled to return by March. “It’s easy to hear the word MIQ and immediately associate it with heartache,” Ardern commented. “But choice to use it has undeniably has saved lives.”
New Zealand’s Immigration website outlines the phases according to the following:
Phase 1 – Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other currently eligible travelers from Australia will be able to travel to New Zealand and self-isolate upon arrival. This will be implemented at 11:59PM on February 27.
Phase 2 – Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travelers from any origin country can enter New Zealand and self-isolate upon arrival. This will be implements two weeks after phase 1, 11:59Pm on March 13.
Phase 3 – People who carry temporary visas to New Zealand and those with valid visas are allowed to enter without going to MIQ. NZ immigration will allow up to 5000 international students in time for the second semester. This will be implemented at 11:59PM on April 12.
Phase 4 – All Australian citizens, permanent residents, foreigners traveling from Australia, people from visa-waiver countries, and those carrying an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEVW) will be allowed to enter with no MIQ. This will be implemented on July 2022.
Phase 5 – All other New Zealand visa holders (including visitor and student) may enter New Zealand and skip MIQ. This will be implemented on October 2022.
Currently, New Zealand has reported close to 2,000 active COVID cases.
Eventually MIQ will slowly be eased out should conditions continue to improve for the island nation. “It’s time to move again,” Ardern encouraged as her government plans to direct the country towards a safer post pandemic world.