Reopening of the New Zealand border

We were pleased to hear the announcement from the Government this morning detailing the plan to reopen New Zealand’s border. We are confident that these changes will streamline the pathway for international veterinarians to enter and join the workforce, helping to provide some respite from the current veterinary shortage clinics in New Zealand are facing.

MIQ will be removed for most travellers in the phased reconnection, replaced by self-isolation and tests on-arrival. MIQ will remain for the unvaccinated.

The five-step reopening plan

Step one - from 11.59pm, Sunday 27 February 2022

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

Step two - from 11:59 pm, Sunday 13 March 2022

The border will 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 and Working Holiday Scheme visa holders.

Step three - from 11:59 pm, Tuesday 12 April 2022

The border will open to current offshore temporary visa holders, who can still meet the relevant visa requirements and open to up to 5000 international students for semester 2. Further class exceptions for critical workforces that do not meet the 1.5 times the median wage test will be considered.

Step four - by July 2022

The border will be open to anyone from Australia and open for visa-waiver travel. The Accredited Employer Work Visa will open, meaning the skilled and health worker border exception can be phased out.

Step five - October 2022

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

Read more about the reopening plan on the Unite against COVID-19 website

What this means for the veterinary profession

From 13 March 2022 anyone earning at least 1.5 times the median wage (i.e. at least $85,000, irrelevant of experience) is eligible for a critical work visa and is able to enter the country.

They will not have to book a space in MIQ but will be required to self-isolate (we are waiting on further details of this).

For more information about how to apply for these visas please contact Megan on or DDI 04 831 1605.

We hope that this news brings you some relief that the ability to source much-needed international veterinary staff will become markedly easier over the next few months, and that those with family overseas will be able to reconnect with their loved ones soon.

We will keep you updated as these changes develop and as they impact on veterinary immigration.

Ngā mihi,

The team at the NZVA