Vessel procedure to enter NZ under COVID 19
An application to the Ministry of Health is required for an exemption to be granted to allow essential Marine crew only (MSMC) to transit into NZ waters with the ship, this process can take a minimum of 20 working days.
Once MOH grant the vessel exemption visas are required for all non-NZ and Australian passport holders, during the visa application process Immigration NZ will require the NZ Company representing the vessel to undertake a labor market advertising campaign to ascertain that there are no NZ qualified crew available to undertake the positions.
If the owners wish to retain key foreign crew for the operation of the vessel, the Union will claim a double up situation for the positions in these key roles with NZ crew who hold the relevant qualification, without the support of the Unions Immigration NZ will not progress visa applications. INZ use the Unions to also support the labor market check.
Once INZ issue the “Approval in principal” for the visas to be applied for then the individuals are able to apply online. Note this process can take some months as NZ does not recognize foreign passport holders as essential workers under COVID19.
Once the visas are issued then the applicant can apply for MIQ hotel quarantine rooms for the current mandatory 14-day isolation and be allowed to fly into NZ. These rules may well change by the time of project execution, however, please note we recently brought an Australian based vessel into NZ waters with Aust crew, and the trans-Tasman bubble did not apply – Aircraft only.