Immigration New Zealand has announced a range of changes to the Immigration New Zealand
Operational Manual and among them a work visa exemption for international tour escorts much to
gratification of inbound tour operators.

Amendment Circular 2017-05, has most of the changes effective from 8 May 2017, with amendments
related to a new visitor visa for international tour escorts coming into effect on 22 May 2017.

Chief Executive Lesley Immink of the Tourism Export Council NZ (TECNZ) is rapt with the outcome
and indicates that it is reflective of the good communication and increased understanding between
TECNZ and Immigration/customs officials in recognising the value that the sector provides to New

“These 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, so this 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 NZ 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 and persons intending to travel to New Zealand as
a tour guide are required to obtain a work visa.

More information can be found on the INZ website or contact Lesley Immink.

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