New Zealand citizens stranded in Australia can now be allocated emergency spots in MIQ if they’re at risk of facing “significant and severe hardship” if they don’t return to Aotearoa within the next two months.

MIQ facility (file photo).MIQ facility (file photo). (Source:


Acting deputy secretary for MIQ Andrew Milne said the new category was introduced after the Government postponed MIQ facility-free travel in light of Omicron.

“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,” Milne said.

The change in criteria came after would-be travellers from Australia were excluded from being in the running for an MIQ spot across March and April during Thursday’s lottery.

Authorities said the exclusion was because there weren’t any appropriate flights for returnees from Australia across those months.

1News has also spoken to Kiwis whose travel plans had been disrupted because of the delay in quarantine-free travel, which meant MIQ spots were tight across January and February.

Mile said the emergency allocation category is only open to people facing significant financial hardship or insecure living situations.

They must already be in Australia and had been making plans between November 24 and December 22 to come to New Zealand between January 17 and February 29.

Applicants must have been making those travel plans on the basis they would have been able to isolate at home for seven days instead of entering MIQ.

Travellers eligible for the category included people in situations which couldn’t be delayed.

“Examples include the sale of homes or termination of leases, resigning from their job, and/or acceptance of employment in New Zealand,” Milne said.

The category is also available for citizens’ partners and dependants.

Applications for emergency allocations are open between January 13 and February 13. The person must be planning to travel within 14 days of their application.

MIQ facility-free travel from Australia was meant to begin on January 17. But, in late December, the Government decided to postpone making a decision about it until the end of February to buy time to roll out vaccine boosters to combat Omicron.