Country now at Level 1, shore leave & crew changes allowed with conditions

10 Jun 2020 / New Zealand

New Zealand has now moved from level 2 down to level 1, and all businesses are open with no restrictions around social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings, etc.

Restrictions on vessels have not changed under level 1. However, shore leave is permitted for crew if their vessels have passed the 14-day isolation period from last overseas port without any signs of infection onboard.

Crew changes are permitted under level 1 as per previous levels with the previous restrictions around crew transferring direct from airport to vessel to self-isolation and off-signers going direct from vessel to airport.

Obtaining a New Zealand visa may prove difficult as well as flights in and out of the country are still extremely limited. This which will make crew changes challenging to say the least.

Crew are only permitted to depart the vessel if it has been in New Zealand for 14 days or more or 14 days from when the last crew exchange occurred. Crew must travel direct from the vessel to the international airport.

The process for requesting an exception to enable essential workers (crew members) to enter New Zealand is as follows:

  1. An employer makes an application to the lead agency for the sector it is operating in. The application should set out:
    - The name of the business and a short summary of the work it undertakes (including which industry/sector it is a part of). · A short description of the work the employee(s) is undertaking.
    - A description of why the work is essential to the business and to the wider community/population of New Zealand.
    - Comment on whether the work can be undertaken by someone who is currently present in New Zealand.
    - Comment on how the business is currently managing the issue and whether this situation can continue.
    - Comment on whether there are any alternatives/work-arounds that can be used (e.g. working remotely, redeployment of staff etc.).
    - Whether there are any accompanying travellers. The employer should email their submission to [email protected]. There is no guarantee that this request will be successful.

  2. The application is considered on a case by case basis by the lead agency, against the following criteria:
    - Whether the worker/employer is delivering an essential service
    - Whether workers present in New Zealand can be used
    - Whether the way the business is currently managing the issue can continue
    - Whether requests for accompanying travellers (e.g. family) are appropriate

  3. The lead agency in collaboration with MBIE makes recommendations to Ministers.

  4. Ministers make a decision on the application.

  5. If the request is approved, Immigration New Zealand will invite the person to apply for a special visa.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in New Zealand, contact the GAC Singapore Hub Agency Centre at [email protected]

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