While everyone gets settled into their new daily lives, with a lot of unanswered questions at this stage, we would like to assure you that Laurent Law is continuing to operate as normal.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your visa situation, your family or staff members please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.
Here is what you need to know:
- Our team are currently working remotely
- We continue to assist with any immigration related matters
- Although processing times will be a lot slower, we continue to assist with NZ visa applications
- You can give us a call on 0064 9 630 0411
- OR email firstname.lastname@example.org or whoever is handling your case right now
- We will keep you informed on any updates via our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NZImmigrationLawyers/ or through our blogs and newsletters.
Visas and the National Lockdown
On Monday 23 March 2020 the Prime Minister issued an Epidemic Management Notice under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006. It gives special powers to various Government agencies, including Immigration. It comes into effect on 2 April 2020 and expires on 25 June 2020, but can be extended if required. It has the following effects:
- Work, Student, Visitor, Interim and Limited Visas (“temporary visas”) which expire between 2 April and 9 July 2020 will be automatically extended until 25 September 2020. INZ says that confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all Visa holders. A Visa holder must be in New Zealand in order to have their Visa extended. This does not relate to Resident Visas.
- People holding temporary visas which expire on or before 1 April 2020, and who cannot leave New Zealand, must apply online for a new Visa.
The Notice gives additional powers to Judges and Immigration Compliance officers when detaining people who face deportation.
Getting Back to New Zealand
As you know by now, the border is closed to everyone except NZ Citizens and Residents. Some narrow exceptions exist (for example, workers in essential services like health). It is also possible to request entry permission for “humanitarian reasons” on a case-by-case basis. However, it won’t be easy to convince Government that your circumstances are compelling, unless the situation is exceptional.
Anyone coming into the country must self-isolate for 14 days after arrival. No exceptions. People who do not follow instructions given by a Health Officer at the airport can be deported, because this now means that they have breached the conditions of their visa.
Impact on the Courts
Some of our work involves taking appeals to the Immigration & Protection Tribunal (IPT), and to the higher Courts in New Zealand. The Chief Justice has ordered that only essential or urgent matters may be heard during the State of Emergency, and most Ministry of Justice offices are shut or working remotely like everyone else.
The IPT has cancelled live hearings for the time being (for example, Resident deportation and Refugee/Protection cases). We can still file new appeals, which can be emailed to IPT staff. As we operate in a largely electronic environment, we are well-placed to prepare evidence and legal submissions for our existing appellant clients.
What if I get Infected?
Covid-19 is now registered as an infectious or quarantinable disease under the New Zealand Health Act 1956. This means that all people in New Zealand, regardless of their visa status, are eligible for publicly funded services to treat Covid-19. All acute care relating to Covid-19 in New Zealand will be managed by the public health system. There is currently no provision for this type of care in the private sector (source, Accuro Health Insurance).
Please stay safe and stay home.