International tour escorts no longer need NZ work visas

Immigration New Zealand recently scrapped the work visa requirement for international tour escorts.

Effective from 22 May 2017, changes will mean that tour escorts will be able to travel to New Zealand as visitors.

Previously, policy required that tour escorts hold work visas. The change will mean easier visa applications for tour escorts from visa-required countries (who will be eligible to apply for visitor visas rather than work visas), and visa-free travel to New Zealand for tour escorts from visa-waiver countries.

This brings international tour escorts in line with other work visa exemption groups including: business sales representatives, visiting sports teams, events, conference and entertainment staff and management teams.

A tour escort has a different role from a tour guide. They have the primary role of providing pastoral care, facilitating arrival and departure formalities (across borders), translation where necessary, logistical support and organisation for the tour group.

People intending to travel to New Zealand as a tour guide are required to obtain a work visa.

For more information, go to www.immigration.govt.nz
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