Visa extensions for foreign nationals affected by earthquake

  • Jonathan Coleman

 Immigration New Zealand is issuing automatic six month visa extensions for any foreign national whose work, visitor or student visa application cannot be processed because of the Christchurch earthquake, says Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Immigration.

"Immigration New Zealand's central Christchurch office in the Crystal Plaza building is unable to be accessed for safety reasons. 2000 temporary visa applications are in that office.

"I have issued a special Ministerial direction effective immediately that any foreign national who is here legally and whose application is caught up in the Christchurch office will have a six month visa extension issued.

‘’Technically this is referred to as an Interim Visa. Any foreign national whose travel plans have been disrupted by the earthquake will similarly be granted a visa extension to allow them to remain legally in New Zealand for the reasonable duration of their visit.

"We know whose applications are in the Christchurch office, and INZ staff in Wellington are accessing the relevant files via the INZ computer system to issue the visas."

Media contact: Martyn Watterson 04) 817 9368 or 021 243 9368