COVID-19 information for students, agents and the international education sector
International students and the international education sector are a valued part of New Zealand’s education system and community. We want to ensure that students, agents and providers have ready access to the information they need.
For students – go to NauMai NZ for information especially for international students in New Zealand.
Current situation in New Zealand - as at 5:16pm, 23 April 2021
- All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1. Learn more about what these Alert Levels mean.
- It is a legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport everywhere in New Zealand - including buses, trains, ferries and air travel.
- If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
- If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get advice about being tested.
- You can access free 24/7 mental health support by phoning 1737 or a range of support listed on the Ministry of Health website.
- If you have been told to self-isolate you legally must do so immediately.
- Get tested if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms. Tests are free
- Keep track of where you’ve been with the NZ COVID Tracer app.
Quarantine-free travel with Australia
Quarantine-free travel (QFT) between Australia and New Zealand begun at 11:59pm on Sunday, 18 April 2021.
To be eligible for QFT, travellers must meet immigration and health requirements.
If a traveller leaves Australia or New Zealand to go to another country, they will need a border exception to re-enter New Zealand.
Once QFT begins between Australia and New Zealand, international students based in Australia may apply for a student visa in New Zealand.
People applying for a New Zealand student visa will still need to meet the pre-COVID immigration requirements.
Education at each alert level
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
- Content for speakers of other languages. There are currently 28 translations of the COVID-19 site available, including Hindi, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Korean and Japanese.
- 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):
COVID-19 healthcare for international students
- International students are eligible for free, public healthcare if they think they have COVID-19. In case of cold or flu-like symptoms, they can call their doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get advice about being tested. Further information is available on the Ministry of Health's website.
- International students, as temporary visa holders, will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as part of New Zealand's national vaccine programme. The roll-out will focus on border workers first, with the rest of New Zealand expected to receive a vaccine later in the year.
- Some countries require travellers to confirm a negative COVID-19 test before they leave New Zealand. Students who require a test prior to departure can organise this through Healthline or their GP, but they will need to pay for it. See questions and answers on pre-departure COVID-19 testing.
- 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.
NZ COVID Tracer App
Fast and effective contact tracing is one way we can all work together to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. One easy way to keep track of where you've been is the NZ COVID Tracer App.
All public transport services and small passenger services such as taxis are required to display QR codes.
Information for education providers
- International education providers have signed The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice. They have an important responsibility to ensure students are well informed, safe and properly cared for during this time.
- The Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 page has advice on New Zealand's education response.
- New Zealand Qualifications Authority has developed information and advice for providers who, as Code signatories, have important responsibilities to international students.
- The Tertiary Education Commission leads the Government's relationship with the tertiary education sector and offers information for providers.
Information for international students on COVID-19 and Alert Levels is available on NauMai NZ, an Education New Zealand resource to support international students studying in New Zealand.
- International students can sign up to NauMai NZ to receive regular email updates.
- Students from China can follow the ENZ WeChat account.
The Government recently announced a number of changes to assist visitors who are staying in New Zealand longer than expected due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Overview of the main changes and announcements
- Immigration New Zealand has the following webpages for international students:
- The Government has announced an automatic extension to most onshore visitor visas that expire before 31 March 2021 by two months. It has also temporarily suspended the limit for visitor visa holders, allowing them to stay beyond the previous cap of nine months in an 18-month period. While this is unlikely to have any impact on international students currently in New Zealand -
- family members of international students currently studying in New Zealand may benefit from the visitor visa extension if they remain in New Zealand due to COVID-19 restrictions, or otherwise choose to stay longer
- family members of students will also be able to apply for further visitor visas as the limit of time spent in New Zealand as a visitor has been temporarily suspended. Read more on this Immigration New Zealand page.
- A COVID-19 short-term visitor visa has been introduced for temporary migrants whose visa is expiring soon but who are unable to leave New Zealand due to international travel restrictions. This includes international students who have completed their study and are waiting for flights to depart New Zealand. Individuals can apply for the COVID-19 short-term visitor visa on the Immigration NZ website.
- For more information on the visa changes, please visit the Immigration New Zealand website.
Support if your visa has expired
If your visa has already expired, you must take urgent action and either leave New Zealand immediately (if possible), or make a request for a special visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act.
New Zealand border
- The New Zealand border is closed except to New Zealand citizens and residents, and a small number of limited exceptions.
- There is more information on the border closure and what some of the exceptions are on the INZ website.
Very high risk category
- The New Zealand Government has announced a new 'very high risk country' category to reduce the number of people with COVID-19 flying to New Zealand.
- It means that only some people can travel directly to New Zealand from a ‘very high risk’ country. Those able to enter are New Zealand citizens, their partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens, and parents of dependent children who are New Zealand citizens.
The following countries have been identified as being a very high-risk country:
- Papua New Guinea
For more information – visit New Zealand’s official Unite against COVID-19 website at Restrictions on travel to New Zealand from very high risk countries | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)
Repatriation travel for international students
- Education providers who are assisting international students with flights must meet their duty of care obligations towards students.
- For more information on travel for international students returning to their home countries, visit this page on the COVID-19 website.
Work and financial issues
Assistance for businesses
The government is providing a range of financial assistance to businesses affected by COVID-19, including wage subsidies, the COVID-19 Resurgence Scheme, and leave support scheme.
Businesses can apply for the new Wage Subsidy from 4 March at 1pm on the Work and Income website.
Resurgence Support Payment
Inland Revenue’s Resurgence Support Payment is now available and is offered in addition to the other support. The payment helps businesses whose revenue has reduced because of a COVID-19 Alert Level 2 or higher. Applications can be made in myIR. Visit Inland Revenue's Resurgence Support Payment page for more information.
Find out if your business is eligible and apply on the COVID-19 website's financial support page.