COVID-19: Work visas, redundancy, and travel restrictions
Border and travel restrictions, self-isolation requirements, drastically reduced tourist numbers, and an impending recession – all consequences of the current Covid-19 virus outbreak – will result in a significant increase in redundancies in both the short and long term in New Zealand.
If you are made redundant while on a work-based visa, the effect on your immigration status will depend on your visa conditions. All visa conditions remain in place despite the current COVID-19 outbreak and must be complied with.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has not published any specific guidance about what work-based visa holders should do if they are made redundant and are required but unable to leave New Zealand due to current travel restrictions, however they have published some information for visa holders whose visas are about to expire. In particular, they have advised:
- INZ is actively considering options to facilitate these individuals;
- People in these circumstances should contact INZ directly to discuss their situation; and
- Individuals who are currently in New Zealand are able to apply for a further visa, which will be assessed on a case by case basis against immigration instructions, taking into account the current COVID-19 outbreak and any relevant travel restrictions.
Options if you lose your job while on a work visa
For those on a work visa who are dismissed on the basis of a 90 day trial period clause in your employment agreement, one option is to apply for a dismissed worker visitor visa. Provided you meet all of the requirements you will then be able to stay in New Zealand for 3 months, however you will not be able to work.
If the loss of your job means you cannot comply with the conditions of your visa and you are unable to leave New Zealand due to current travel restrictions, you should contact INZ to discuss your situation.
If your visa conditions require you to remain employed in a specific role, you will likely need to apply for another visa if you want or need to stay in New Zealand. Alternatively, if you have been able to secure another similar role, you may be able to apply for a variation of the conditions of your current visa.
Similar advice is likely to apply for visa holders who are made redundant but are unable to leave New Zealand due to current travel restrictions, but it will be important to keep up-to-date as new guidelines are released.
Want to know more?
If you would like further information or have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Anderson Lloyd’s specialist Employment Team.