New Zealand borders to re-open

Border re-opening will ease entry for construction sector critical workers

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined a five-step plan to re-opening the borders.

The Accord welcomes this plan which will greatly ease barriers to bringing critical workers into the country for the construction sector.

  • Border will reopen to vaccinated New Zealanders from Australia at 11.59pm 27 February
  • Reopens to New Zealanders in the rest of the world on 13 March
  • MIQ removed for most travellers in phased reconnection, replaced by self-isolation and tests on-arrival
  • MIQ to remain for the unvaccinated.

From 11.59pm on Sunday 13 March, workers earning at least 1.5 times the median wage will be eligible to enter New Zealand. The 1.5 times median wage setting will also apply to the skilled onshore worker family reunification border exception.

"This means that health workers, farm managers, horticultural workers, tech sector professionals, those working for accounting services, in education and construction, will all be eligible to enter New Zealand, self-isolate for a short period and then go about their business," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi says the plan is "a significant step forward in addressing skills and labour shortages and accelerates our economic recovery."

Five steps to re-opening borders

Step 1, from 11.59 Sunday 27 February

  • Reopen to New Zealanders and other eligible travellers under current border settings (e.g. people with border exceptions) from Australia.

Step 2, from 11:59pm on Sunday 13 March

  • Reopen to New Zealanders and other eligible travellers under current border settings from the rest of the world
  • Open to skilled workers earning at least 1.5 times the median wage
  • Open to Working Holiday Scheme visas (the sequencing of the opening of these schemes will be determined).

Step 3, from 11:59pm on Tuesday 12 April

  • Open to current offshore temporary visa holders, who can still meet the relevant visa requirements
  • Open to up to 5000 international students for semester two
  • Further class exceptions for critical workforces that do not meet the 1.5 times the median wage test and additions to the lists of Government-approved programmes, events and the infrastructure lists will be considered by Ministers for entry to New Zealand (if not already covered by opening under Steps 1 or 2).

Step 4, by July

  • Open to anyone from Australia
  • Open for visa-waiver travel
  • The new Accredited Employer Work Visa will open for applications (at which point the skilled and health worker border exception will be phased out).

Step 5, October

  • Border fully reopens to visitors from anywhere in the world, and all visa categories fully reopen.

More information

Read the media release on border reopening(external link) -

Read the Prime Minister's speech on border reopening(external link) -

Last updated: 03 February 2022