Emergency Allocation criteria changes

Published: 01 September 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 on Friday 3 September.

Joint Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Megan Main says MIQ is committed to continuously learning and improving its processes.

“As with all aspects of our operations, we regularly review the criteria to ensure we are providing emergency allocations for those who really need them. We last made changes to the emergency allocation criteria in April.  

“As we notice trends in the applications we receive, we review whether the settings are meeting the needs of the people applying, while keeping our community safe”, Ms Main says. 

Advice is given to the Minister for Covid-19 Response, who then makes a decision about any change in the criteria.

“Over the last few months we’ve received applications from people who need to travel home or overseas for time-critical medical treatment, so we have added criteria for these situations to Category 1.

“We have also received applications from people needing to travel or return to New Zealand due to bereavements of close relatives, and so we have created a third category for these circumstances, so that we can more easily accommodate future applications of this nature”, Ms Main says.

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, they will need to submit a new application.

There is no guarantee that a person who fits within these categories will receive an emergency allocation, as it depends on the numbers of applicants and available places.

“These changes will mean that more people who need to get home urgently will be able to, however the reality is that demand for space in MIQ is always high and there is a finite space in our facilities.

“We want to get everyone home that wants to come home, but we need to do this in a safe way.

“These decisions are not easy ones to make and we are sympathetic to the distressing situations people applying for an emergency allocation are in.

“We need to balance each individual application with our critical work to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders and the limited available capacity in Managed Isolation Facilities”.

Upcoming changes to the categories for emergency allocations

Changes to Category 1(a) New Zealand citizens or residents

The following changes will be made to Category 1(a):

i. requiring access to time-critical medical treatment for the applicant or their dependant, which has been scheduled in New Zealand and is unavailable or inaccessible in their current location; OR

ii. requiring access to time-critical medical treatment for the applicant, or their dependent, which is scheduled overseas and has been confirmed by a New Zealand medical specialist as being unavailable in New Zealand, and where timely return travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through the Managed Isolation Allocation System; OR

iii. who are in a location or situation where there is a serious risk to their safety and their only option is to return to New Zealand, taking into account advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade where relevant;

New Category

A new category, Category 3 is also being added:

3) New Zealand citizens or residents who have suffered the bereavement of a close relative within seven days of the date of application and urgently need to:

(a) return to New Zealand where the close relative died in New   Zealand; OR

(b) travel to another country, and return to New Zealand, where the close relative died in that other country, including for the purposes of accompanying the body of the deceased to New Zealand: where timely return travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through the Managed Isolation Allocation System. 

NOTE: A close relative is a spouse or partner, parent, child, brother or sister, grandparent, grandchild, spouse’s or partner’s parent