COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) information for students, agents and peak bodies

The New Zealand Government’s number one priority is the health of people in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. International students are a valued part of New Zealand’s education system and of our community. New Zealand provides quality education to many thousands of international students each year, and we want that to continue.

Our message to students is that your health and safety is our number one priority. You are not alone and the New Zealand community is here to support you.

New Zealand is committed to ensuring that international students have ready access to the information, support and care they need.

As at 6 April 2020, 10.30 NZT

Situation in New Zealand

  • New Zealand is now at  Level 4 Alert – Eliminate.
  • Temporary visa holders including student visa holders can no longer enter New Zealand.
  • Only residents and citizens can enter and they must isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival.
  • Under Alert Level 4, international students are able to leave New Zealand on scheduled commercial or foreign-government assisted charter flights.  

Guidance on level 4

  • People are instructed to stay at home
  • All educational facilities are closed and should provide distance learning where this can be reasonably managed by staff working from home
  • Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities
  • Travel is severely limited
  • Healthcare services have been prioritised.
  • To find out more about what it means to be alert level 4, visit the COVID-19 website.

Repatriation travel for international students

  • Under Alert Level 4, international students are able to leave New Zealand on scheduled commercial or foreign-government assisted charter flights to their home countries.
  • International students with valid international flight tickets to depart New Zealand (from Auckland or Christchurch airports) can travel to these cities by:
    o a single flight (commercial or chartered)
    o private transport such as cars
    o non-private transport such as taxis, rideshare, public transport, rental or charter vehicles.
  • Students travelling to airports must follow existing health and safety advice regarding COVID-19. These measures include ensuring 2 metres distance between people, coughing/sneezing into your elbow, and washing and drying hands often.
  • Education providers who are assisting international students with flights must meet their duty of care obligations towards students.
  • For more information on domestic travel for international students returning to their home countries, visit this page on the COVID-19 website.

Education specific changes relating to the alert system

  • From Tuesday 24 March, early learning services, schools and kura closed for most students.
  • School holidays have started from 30 March to 14 April inclusive. During the holiday break, the Ministry of Education will support schools to develop e-learning and other distance learning options for Term 2.
  • Tertiary providers are moving to full distance learning as quickly as possible.

Key sources of health information

If you are in New Zealand:

  • The official New Zealand Government source of information is website - covid19.govt.nz - with information on:
    • The symptoms of COVID-19 and how to seek medical help
    • How to protect your mental wellbeing
    • Self-isolation
    • Content for speakers of other languages.
  • Call Healthline for health-related calls about COVID-19 on 0800 358 5453. Or for international SIMs +64 9 358 5453. You can talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service and interpreters will be on hand. The number is staffed by nurses, paramedics and health advisors.
  • You can also follow the Ministry of Health on Facebook @minhealthnz for key updates and on Twitter @minhealthnz.

If you are outside of New Zealand the best source is the World Health Organisation (WHO):

Education information for international students 

  • The Ministry of Education website is the official source of information for New Zealand’s education sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. It has advice and information for students and their families including in simplified Chinese. It also has information for education providers and homestay families.
  • For any other information that your tertiary education provider is unable to help with, call the Tertiary Education Commission on 0800 123 797.
  • See information for international students on NauMai NZ and the ENZ WeChat account.

Immigration and insurance information for international students

  • The New Zealand Government’s epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect on Thursday 2 April 2020.
  • People with a temporary visa due to expire between 1 April and 9 July 2020 will have their visas extended to late September. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.
  • Immigration New Zealand has set up a dedicated web page for student visa holders. This will provide you will the latest information and advice on COVID-19 related visa queries.
  • You can also call the Immigration Contact Centre on 0508 225 288 (within New Zealand) or +64 9 952 1679 (outside of New Zealand).
  • The National Health Coordination Centre, which is part of the Ministry of Health, has confirmed that “people who have or who are suspected of having an infectious and/or quarantinable disease are eligible for publicly funded health services to address the risks to other people.” Further information is available on the Ministry’s website.
  • New Zealand Qualifications Authority advises international students to contact their insurance provider directly for up-to-date advice on any changes to their cover as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and to then consider their options, and take the course of action that is in their best interests.

COVID-19 wage subsidy for international students

  • The New Zealand Government has a wage subsidy available to support employers and their employees affected by COVID-19.
  • International students whose visa allows them to work in New Zealand and whose employment has been affected by COVID-19 are advised to check with their employer whether they are eligible for a wage subsidy.
  • More details on the wage subsidy, including frequently asked questions by employees, are available on this link.
  • Employees who have a question or concern about breaches of minimum employment obligations, can contact Employment NZ on 0800 20 90 20 or email info@employment.govt.nz.
  • Please visit Employment NZ for further workplace guidance regarding COVID 19.

Information for education providers

Information for travellers arriving in New Zealand

  • Only residents and citizens can enter New Zealand
  • Residents and citizens entering New Zealand should check the Ministry of Health information for travellers webpage
  • You can find out more about self-isolation on the Ministry of Health’s website.
  • People who have recently returned to New Zealand and who develop symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath should seek medical advice – phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 or contact your GP, including phoning ahead of your visit.

Travel advice for New Zealanders

  • For current travel advice, go to the COVID-19 page on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Safetravel website.
  • Information for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents returning to New Zealand is available on the Immigration New Zealand website. You can also call Immigration New Zealand on 0508 225 288 (within New Zealand) or +64 9 952 1679 (outside of New Zealand).

Other advice

What's in it for me?