The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says it has approved 33 applications for people to join someone in managed isolation.
This comes as major gaps in the testing regime of staff at the front line of New Zealand's Covid-19 quarantine management systems are exposed.
A Managed Isolation and Quarantine spokeswoman told the Herald the managed isolation process was moved from the Health Ministry to MBIE just over a month ago on July 13.
"A new exemptions team has been established, and a strengthened and robust system is being put in place," she said.
"This will ensure we balance the needs of people facing exceptional circumstances with the need to protect the New Zealand public from Covid-19."
Under the old regime, about 40 applications for people to move into managed isolation facilities were approved.
The spokeswoman said people could apply to join someone in managed isolation or quarantine for two reasons: to join a child, or to join someone in managed isolation to support their health and wellbeing.
"Since July 13, 33 applications have been approved," she said.
"In any case where an exemption is granted, significant measures will be in place to protect public health."
The spokeswoman said the safety of the community was "always the primary concern when considering exemptions".
"Exemptions are only granted where the public health risk can be strictly managed," she added.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins admitted yesterday just 60 per cent of all MIQ staff working at the Jet Park hotel – the country's main Covid-19 quarantine centre – were being tested at least once a week.
Wanaka project manager Anis Haddad, 40, is one of those applying for an exemption - to join his wife Micheline Nasr, 37, and her daughters Adriana, 3, and Olivia, 1, when they arrive in New Zealand after the explosion in Beirut on August 4.
The family's home has been destroyed and at least three of their close friends were killed by the blast.
Haddad said the family - who have been invited to apply for a visitor visa on humanitarian grounds - are still in a state of shock and trauma and want him to be their support.
The massive explosion in their home city of Beirut killed more than 200 people and wounded some 6000. Dozens are still missing.
Haddad holds a work visa and has been living and working in Wanaka since March as project director for Wyndham Resorts.
In June, University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told the Herald such exemptions appeared to be a manageable risk.
Baker said that those who entered managed isolation facilities under this exemption were primarily putting themselves at risk.
"Overall if the level of protection is sustained, and there are some compassionate exemptions for doing things slightly differently, I think they're acceptable provided they don't compromise the level of protection of the whole system," Baker said at the time.
He said the system should be made as humane as possible within the limits.
"There's a core group of people who the system's designed for and they just follow it without any deviation, but once you've got thousands of people in these facilities there will be some individualisation to make the system work effectively."