Vouchers and the Managed Isolation Allocation System

Information on this page can be attributed to a managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson.

Managed Isolation and Quarantine is aware that travelling around the world right now is not simple or easy and acknowledges that there are many people in really difficult situations as a result of this global pandemic.

In periods of high demand capacity is limited

MIQ is not only an important part of our COVID-19 border measures - in community outbreaks we also have a role to play in protecting the rest of New Zealand from COVID-19 spreading wider in the community. 

MIQ has served New Zealand well, helping to bring almost 200,000 people here.

We want to be able to bring everyone home who wants to return but we have to do that in a safe, managed way. For New Zealand, that number is approximately 10,500 rooms per 33 days.

There’s no silver bullet that means everybody can get home when they want. Unfortunately, in periods of high demand, some people will miss out on securing a MIQ voucher, regardless of the system that is used. New Zealanders can still come home but they may not be able to travel on the dates they would prefer. 

The reality is that demand for space in managed isolation facilities is always high, and there is finite capacity within the MIQ system, and that’s for good reason – Covid-19 is raging around the world and we need to keep New Zealand safe.

Booking vouchers

MIQ has rolled out a virtual lobby for room releases in the Managed Isolation Allocation System.

Find out more about the virtual lobby

Related news items about the virtual lobby

We begin to release rooms online once airlines have confirmed their flight schedules with MIQ.

We aim to start releasing rooms 4 to 6 months prior to arrival dates, with 40% of rooms initially released and the remaining 60% gradually released in batches each month up until arrival date. This timing is dependent on what is happening in the broader COVID-19 environment and is not always possible, but we will now be announcing when room releases will be happening.

We aim to hold 10% of rooms in reserve one month prior to arrival date, and release these 2 weeks before arrival to allow for flexibility in the system to respond to unexpected events.

For those experiencing difficulties with Wi-Fi or phone signals, managed isolation vouchers can be booked by another individual on their behalf. For example if a person has difficulty accessing the internet, or if they have language or accessibility issues, they can get a family member or friend to book a voucher for them.

For people overseas who have been unable to secure a voucher via the Managed Isolation Allocation System and need to travel urgently, they are able to apply for an emergency allocation.

Find out more about Emergency allocation requests

Transferring vouchers to another person

MIQ vouchers are not transferrable between individuals. Once a voucher is secured, people cannot change anything on the voucher which changes the identity of the traveller. This is to prevent creating a secondary market in which vouchers can be traded or sold.

Sharing rooms

In general, people are able to book rooms with friends or colleagues by using the group registration. When a person obtains a voucher, it allows all members of the group to travel together and share a room if that is what they have chosen to do. Individual bookings cannot be changed to a group booking once confirmed. Vouchers for a place in managed isolation are non-transferrable and additional travellers cannot typically be added.

While we may allow this in some limited circumstances for dependent children or a partner/spouse and where room capacity is not impacted, it is not usually permitted for other relationships because this may lead to vouchers being traded and risk the integrity of the system.

We are constantly improving our system

Since we implemented the Managed Isolation Allocation System (MIAS) we’ve made about 200 improvements to it. Some are to do with security and system performance but a lot are to do with user experience.

The new lobby process makes booking more transparent and creates a more level playing field for people trying to access the booking site.

The lobby also means we can let people know in advance when room releases are happening.

Waitlist

A waitlist is extremely complex, and would present other challenges. With the current supply and demand imbalance, most people would be waiting a very long time to get a room.

A waitlist will not make the system any more fair or equitable - it is not a silver bullet that will fix a problem that is based on supply and demand.

One of the challenges of the waitlist is it pushes the problem further up the pipeline – it would not guarantee people vouchers, it would only save their place in a queue, where demand is still significantly greater than supply. People might have thousands of people ahead of them in a queue, with little chance of securing a voucher - this is likely to be the outcome from one massive waitlist, or even a waitlist by month or date. There is also a lot of complexity in how to manage travellers who are flexible with dates and those needing specific dates.

Signing up to a waitlist - no matter how it is organised - is also based on a first-in first-served model and will penalise those who are unable to access the waitlist at the time they need to.

Making changes to bookings

Travellers can also discuss changes to bookings by emailing us at flightchanges@miq.govt.nz.

Support for those overseas

If anyone requires urgent support overseas they should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade through their local Embassy or Consulate.

Last updated: 13 December 2021