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  • INZBC Secretariat

What is Cyclone Gabrielle Recovery Visa Instituted by NZ Government?

On February 2023, severe Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle hit New Zealand and had a devastating impact, causing an estimated NZ$13 billion (US$8.12 billion) in damages. The New Zealand Government, in response, has announced the launch of the Recovery Visa (a sub-type of the Specific Purpose or Event Work Visa) for migrant workers, effective 24 February 2023, to assist with recovery efforts in the wake of the devastation left behind. This short-term visa will allow New Zealand employers to sponsor migrants to come to New Zealand to work on the emergency response.

New Zealand requires specialists such as insurance assessors, infrastructure and utilities engineers and technicians, heavy machinery operators, and debris removal workers to work with their onshore experts.

The government has instituted the Recovery Visa to assist in the relief efforts of North Island. This specific purpose work visa allows migrant workers to work for up to six months in specific occupations identified under the New Zealand government’s emergency response to the devastation caused on the North Island. To apply for this visa, employers must confirm that the role supports relief efforts, and applicants must submit a Recovery Visa – Employer Supplementary form along with their other documents. There is also a NZ$700 fee associated with the application; however, applicants will be refunded this amount when successful.

The visa allows migrant workers coming to New Zealand for a short time (up to 6 months) to do a job that supports the North Island's recovery from extreme weather events in January and February 2023. This support can include the following:

  • providing emergency response

  • immediate cleanup

  • assessing risk or loss

  • infrastructure, building and housing stabilisation and/or repair (including planning functions)

  • work that directly supports the recovery (e.g. producing relevant materials for road rebuild, transport drivers etc.).

When employers have identified migrant workers to contribute to recovery efforts, they and the worker must each complete specific forms required by INZ. First, the employer needs to complete the Recovery Visa – Employer Supplementary form and provide it to the migrant worker. The worker must then submit a Specific Purpose Work visa application, including the Recovery Visa application form as an attachment, specifying how long they intend to stay in New Zealand (6 months or less). INZ estimates that most applications will be processed within a week, with some decisions being given even faster.

You can visit the link provided for further information, or reach out to us at or +64 09 3790219 for any queries.

Content provided by:

Vandana Rai (LIA: 201400900) MBA I M.Sc. Human Devp | PG Dip Guidance & Counselling | B.Edu | Dip M.H & Rehab | QEAC046 | GCNZIA Member, Referral Group 2016 - Immigration Advisers Authority(IAA) Director New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment( NZAMI) - 2017 Nominee for 2017 NZAMI Awards under two categories - Immigration Adviser of the Year and Hall of Fame

Director, Immigration Advisers New Zealand Ltd New Zealand – 25 Federal Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010


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