Blogs and Insights

The 5 Step Plan to NZ Borders Opening

  • Tags:
  • health and social care news
  • nz borders opening

It’s official, steps 1 and 2 of New Zealand’s plans to reopen its borders have been successfully navigated. The Managed Isolation & Quarantine period (MiQ) which has been in place since way back in April 2020, is coming to an end!*

In the majority of cases, returnees will now only be required to self-isolate for a short period of 7-10 days.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated, as she outlined New Zealand’s new 5-step plan, that there was life before, and there will be life after Covid. She was reflective on the challenges New Zealand has faced in the past two years – “MIQ meant not everyone could come home when they wanted to. But it also meant that Covid could not come in when it wanted to, either.” 

The success of the 5 step plan is fantastic news for not only health care professionals looking to relocate to NZ but for travel in general. See below for the key information and timeline associated with the NZ borders opening in 2022.

(*except for “high risk” travellers)


nz opening borders

Auckland: once more an exciting destination for nurses and healthcare professionals looking to relocate

Here are the key points from the announcement:

  • In steps 1 and 2 of the plan, healthcare professionals are covered under the critical worker border exception and can start making plans!
  • As of 27 February, fully vaccinated travellers from Australia can travel to New Zealand.
  • As of 13 March, New Zealanders and eligible travellers from the rest of the world can enter. Skilled workers can expect to earn 1.5x the median wage.
  • Now that working holiday visas are resuming options are open for healthcare professionals across the globe.
  • MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine) is no longer required for most travelers, in favour of self-isolation and tests on arrival.

5-step Plan Timeline for NZ Borders Opening

Step 1 – 27th February 

This step has now been successfully passed. It means that fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers from Australia are able to travel to New Zealand. In place of going into MiQ they will be required to self-isolate.

Step 2 – 13th March

During this stage, border exceptions will be increased for critical and skilled workers (including health workers, farm managers, horticultural workers, tech sector professionals, accounting service workers, education and construction professionals, who may earn at least 50% higher wages than the previous average). Skilled workers’ family members will also be given priority after extended time spent away from loved ones.

Working Holiday Schemes will also start up again in stages. This is huge news for healthcare professionals looking to relocate to New Zealand for work opportunities. Get in touch today to talk about your options.

Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers from the rest of the world will also be able to travel into New Zealand without going through the MIQ process.

Step 3 – 12 April 

The border openings will extend to include an international cohort of 5000 students to be ready for the new semester. Temporary visa holders will also be permitted.

Step 4 – from July at the latest

This step will be the biggest expansion, welcoming Australians and all other visitors and business travellers who would normally be able to enter NZ without a visa. The New Zealand government are anticipating a rise in cases around this time. Therefore they have dated it as occurring no later than July. It is likely that step 4 will be enacted earlier than this if the positive trend in terms of covid cases continues.

Step 5 – from October

October – The last step includes all other visitors and students who require a visa to enter New Zealand, with normal pre-pandemic visa processing resuming.


nz borders open to australia

From October, all travellers can travel to New Zealand with an eligible VISA

Arriving following NZ borders opening

All arrivals will be given three rapid antigen tests upon arrival at the airport to take home. One for use on day 0-1 of self-isolation, and one for use on day 5-6. The third test is an extra for backup if needed.

If a positive result is returned at any point, arrivals will be asked to get a follow-up PCR test at a community testing station.

If negative, the next chapter of life in New Zealand can begin!

Thank You For Reading Our Post On the New Zealand Opening Borders

At Prospero, we are ready to support healthcare professionals who are now eligible to meet the border exception criteria. You will get the highest priority from our dedicated team of health & social care recruitment specialists. Get in touch today to talk about your opportunities! Also, check out our current vacancies on our jobs page.

Already registered with us? If your situation has changed, or if you haven’t chatted with us in a while, reach out to your Prospero consultant today!