Immigration NZ has emphasised that Covid-19 Tracer App usage by migrants will not make any difference to their immigration status.
This comes after a visa condition introduced following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic for those on temporary visas caused some confusion among the migrant community.
In March last year Immigration minister Kris Faafoi imposed a visa condition on temporary entry class visa holders requiring them to comply with Covid-19 regulatory requirements.
Added under section 52 (4A) (a) of the Immigration Act 2009, it outlines that any person that arrived on or before March 18, 2020 must comply with "any order made under section 11 of the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and any instruction from a Medical Officer of Health."
The order specifies that anyone on a work, student or visitor visa is liable for deportation if they break any Covid-19 related rules.
But the condition is said to still be causing anxiety among migrants, and one they say has left room for misinterpretation.
One Auckland-based migrant worker told the Herald that many migrants believed the fate of their visa status was dependent on frequent usage of the Covid-19 tracer app.
Although not compulsory for anyone in New Zealand, the work visa holder originally from India - who wished to remain anonymous - said he, like many of his friends and colleagues, believed that Immigration NZ conducted random audits to make sure the app was being used regularly and that the agency had the power to cancel visas at any time if a person was found to not be doing so.
However, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has confirmed that this is not the case, nor does it have access to the third-party app like the Ministry of Health does.
"Using the Covid Tracer App is not compulsory, and INZ has no role in checking if anyone uses it. INZ is not monitoring if any visa holders are following the rules and it will not be factored into visa applications," a spokeswoman for Immigration NZ said.
She said the rules outlined in the condition were mandatory for everyone in New Zealand despite their immigration status.
Immigration lawyer David Fisher, director of Immigration Chambers, also said there was no mandated use of the app and the visa condition requirement was no different to any orders New Zealanders had to follow.
However, he said he could understand the concern of many migrants as the condition was "vague" and it left room for confusion and misinterpretation.
"Many of our clients, especially from certain countries, they live in constant fear of anything related to their visa, so I can understand why people are being cautious," Fisher told the Herald.
"It is a good idea to use tracing just in case it does come up, essentially if they are asked by any of the authorities to produce information about where they have been then they do have to produce that information, but that information can be held either in the app or via pen and paper or recount the places they have been."
Fisher said he believed that the condition could have been more clear, but it was "another catch-all" to give "Immigration another tool to potentially deport someone if they wanted to."
Rumours were rife among the migrant communities, particularly on social media, fuelling anxiety, and he was not surprised by the confusion the condition had caused, he said.
"There is gossip everywhere ... there's a lot of anxiety."