Changes to MIQ and Quarantine Free Travel

2 November 2021

Changes to MIQ that come into effect from 14 November 2021 include:

  • Reduction of MIQ stay from 14 days, down to 7 days
  • While in MIQ, a Covid-19 test on Day Zero, Day Three, Day 6 and a negative antigen test before they are released from MIQ
  • Then to isolate at home for 3 days with a Day Nine PCR test.


Quarantine Free Travel (QFT) Changes

  • Expansion of a one-way Pacific Quarantine-Free Travel from Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga from the Pacific into New Zealand, not back to the Pacific
  • From 8 November 2021
    • In addition to RSE workers, eligibility will include people who have the right to reside permanently in New Zealand (citizens and residents, plus Australian citizens) and those covered by existing New Zealand border exceptions.
    • The additional health requirements that were in effect for the RSE QFT Trial will be removed – there will be no requirement for workers to isolate on arrival, or have Saliva Covid tests due to the low Covid-19 risk in their home countries. 
    • NO restrictions on domestic travel for the arriving RSE workers.
    • All RSE workers will still be required to have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, with two doses required from 1 January 2022.
    • A pre-departure Covid-19 test is not required.


We have two flights arriving soon:

  • MIQ Flight 7 - 4 November from the Solomons (our last MIQ flight).
    The Industry Collective* has been advised these changes will NOT apply to this flight, as they come into effect on 14 November.  It will be our normal MIQ process. If this changes, we will let you know.
  • QFT Flight A - 8 November from Tonga.
    These QFT changes will apply and will make it very much easier for employers to move their workers around, and accommodate them as they normally would. 
    • PLEASE NOTE: We have domestic charters arranged to transport some workers from Christchurch to Napier.  These flights would incur significant cost penalties for those employers, and current flight schedules prohibit cancelling these. We need to move the workers, so we will continue with these as is.


All the flights from Monday 8 November will not need to comply with the strenuous isolation protocol. The Industry Collective are in the process of making the necessary adjustments for these flights.  Efforts are being made to gain more understanding of the process if one of these QFT countries (Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga) had a Covid outbreak.

The Industry Collective would like to thank all RSE employers and workers who have successfully implemented the Isolation Protocols during October QFT. Due to this success and modelling, all those involved have helped to open New Zealand’s border up for more industries, and New Zealanders. The Collective would also like to thank Immigration New Zealand and Ministry of Health officials for working so closely with the horticulture industry to make this QFT Trial work so well.

The new QFT system is not a return to business as usual. QFT is still a border exception as New Zealand’s border is still effectively closed. The Industry Collective will continue to allocate and run the flights coming in, and we will continue to work closely with the High Commissions and the Coordination Unit on repatriation.

A very key element of QFT is the industry’s commitment to the repatriation of the RSE workers that have been in New Zealand longer than usual. With two-way travel becoming more of a reality, this will give hope to RSE workers.

The Industry Collective has requested more information about the repatriation process from the Co-Ordination Unit. The repatriation of more than 4000 workers is a big piece of work, which has been done to date by a small handful of people. Industry and Government will support the High Commissions so that this process is transparent for all employers and workers, with a long term, sustainable plan. In order to bring in more people into the country, there needs to be a plan to get them home.

As we get more information from Government, the Industry Collective will pass it on.


QFT 2022

The RSE the Employer survey for January, February and March 2022 flight allocations was sent out last week.  If you are an RSE Employer and you did not get a copy of the survey, please contact Gavin Stagg at


* The Industry Collective is made up of NZAPI, NZKGI, Summerfruit NZ, NZ Ethical Employers (previously Master Contractors), NZ Wine and HortNZ.