Travellers to New Zealand will soon be able to book managed isolation six months in advance, government documents show.
The two-week stay in hotel accommodation have been compulsory for more than a year.
So far, MIQ vouchers have only been available three to four months in advance.
But an Official Information Act response shows MIQ will move to a six-month booking window in the coming weeks.
In the documents, MIQ general manager Christina Sophocleous-Jones said unreliable flight information had hindered the voucher system, so her team had been seeking accurate flight data.
“The Ministry [of Business, Innovation and Employment] will look to move to a six-month booking horizon in the coming weeks, once flight schedules for the northern summer are confirmed.”
Dama Black has been trying to organise a trip to see her son in Germany for months.
After four failed attempts, she asked MIQ why she couldn’t book a voucher more than three months ahead.
This week, they told her the system was about to change and she secured a voucher for September.
She said it was “relieving but also frustrating”.
“I just wish that I hadn’t had to go through the last two-and-a-half months of stress, not knowing what was happening and not being able to confirm to my family that I was able to come.”
She said that the flights cost $3500 more than the last time she tried to book.
Employers often need to ensure overseas job applicants have a managed isolation spot before they can finalise contracts.
So BusinessNZ immigration manager Rachel Simpson said the booking changes would make it easier to bring critical workers in.
“For those who aren’t able to secure spots straight away, at least they can plan for being able to come in at a later date, once spots are up. So we are very supportive.”
More than 15 airlines have been flying into New Zealand over the last year.