International graduates who missed out on work visas because they were out of the country when the border closed have been told they can come back.
Former students at New Zealand tertiary institutions usually have work rights when they finish their course.
Some stranded overseas in March 2020 will now be allowed back in on a 12-month open work visa, but others will not.
When it was announced last month, Immigration Minister Michael Wood said it would help about 1800 graduates who were affected by the pandemic restrictions.
Sonu Pival was among those waiting to find out the detail.
He had finished a masters degree in electrics and electronics and was working in managed isolation when he had to rush back to India to look after his sick parents in December 2020.
He thought he would be eligible to return, but received an email with the criteria today and realised he had to be overseas at the start of the pandemic.
“It’s actually very disappointing. During the minister’s announcement, he just said all post study work visa holders who are stuck offshore will be getting [a visa] extension for 12 months but I’m not getting anything.”
He estimated 500 people in similar situations are not eligible to return.
Migrant Workers Association spokesperson Anu Kaloti said people started getting notifications yesterday.
“The one off 12 month open work visa should be extended to all NZ migrants stranded offshore with expired visas because they could not re-enter NZ due to Covid related border closure. This provision should be made available to all regardless of what visas they held.”
Immigration New Zealand has been approached for comment.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz