National | Australia

Emergency MIQ spots for Kiwis stuck in Australia facing 'significant and severe hardship'

Kiwis stuck in Australia will soon be able to apply for emergency spots in MIQ if they face "significant and severe hardship" not returning to NZ in the next two months.

The announcement by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on Friday, comes after the Government pushed out plans for MIQ international free travel from mid-January to the end of February because of Omicron concerns, effectively stranding New Zealanders in Australia set to return home to Aotearoa under a self-isolation pathway.

“We understand how difficult this time has been for New Zealanders who are desperate to return and will face financial or safety issues if they cannot do so in the next couple of months. This new temporary category will give them another way to get back home,” Acting Deputy Secretary for MIQ, Andrew Milne, said.

Applications are open for a month from January 13, for travel within 14 days of application. Only New Zealand citizens and their partners and dependents are eligible.

The category is only available to people facing significant financial hardship or insecure living situations, such as homelessness or unsafe living conditions.

Examples include the sale of homes or termination of leases, resigning from their job, and/or acceptance of employment in New Zealand which cannot be delayed, Milne said.

Applicants must have booked travel between November 24 and December 22 to come to NZ between January 17 and February 29.