Emergency Allocation criteria changes

Published: 19 November 2021

The criteria for those who can apply for an emergency allocation if they need to travel home to New Zealand urgently is being further broadened and clarified on Monday 22 November.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has agreed to some changes to the emergency allocation criteria, and these changes are set to go live on Monday 22 November.

Joint Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Chris Bunny says that MIQ is continually changing to meet the needs of New Zealand – and these latest changes will further prioritise those with urgent health or visa-related issues.  

“Previously, MIQ set aside 700 rooms per month for emergency allocations – the Minister increased that number to 800 at the start of November and has also agreed to broaden some criteria for who is eligible to apply,” he said.

If eligible applicants exceed this number, then MIQ can seek the Minister’s agreement to increase the emergency allocation.

The criteria changes are to include ‘life-threatening medical events’ (including accidents) to the list of medical reasons that allow a close relative to visit, as well as introducing a new criteria for New Zealand citizens who have been outside the country since 3 November 2020 (the date that the Managed Isolation Allocation System became compulsory to re-enter the country), and whose overseas visas are within 2 months of expiry.

“Demand for MIQ spots has always exceeded supply –the recent changes, are intended to better provide for those who need to enter the country urgently, by having more rooms available for emergency allocation and also expanding some criteria for eligibility,” he said.

“All applications will require evidence and will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, against the set criteria.

“If someone has had previous applications declined and feels they meet the new criteria, we invite them to submit a new application.

“We understand the frustration of people trying to get into New Zealand – MIQ is continually working to improve our services and to provide clarity around who is able to be granted an emergency allocation, and this is a good step forward,” he said.

Upcoming changes to the categories for emergency allocations

Changes to Category 2(c)

This applies for New Zealand citizens or residents:

i. whose visa to remain in their current location has expired and who have received notice from a local authority of detainment or deportation if they do not depart; OR

ii. whose visa to remain in their current location has been unexpectedly revoked or shortened due to circumstances outside of their control.

Changes to Category 2(e)i and 2(e)iv

This applies to New Zealand citizens or residents:

i. who are entering New Zealand to visit a close relative who is living with a terminal illness or end-stage disease (with a life expectancy of 6 months or less) or has recently suffered a life-threatening medical event, where timely travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through MIAS; OR

iv. who have travelled or are travelling to visit a close relative who is living with a terminal illness or end-stage disease (with a life expectancy of 6 months or less) or has recently suffered a life-threatening medical event, and resides overseas, where timely return travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through MIAS.

Note: ‘life-threatening medical event’ includes both illness (e.g. serious cardiac events, strokes etc.) and accidents (e.g. serious car accident).

Newly Created Category 4

This applies to New Zealand citizens who have been overseas since before 3 November 2020; AND

(a) who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to secure a MIAS voucher through the regular release process; AND

(b) whose visa to remain in their current location has expired or will expire in the next 60 days. 

Note: Category 4 would apply to New Zealand citizens and their spouses/partners and/or dependent children only, but that resident class visa holders would continue to have a pathway through category 2c.