COVID-19 Guidance & Information

As at 13th May 2020, 2pm NZST.

This page will be updated as more information comes through to us. If there is more information you wish to see or if you have any questions, please contact us via email ( Thank you.

As of Thursday 14th May 2020, New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2.

Temporary limits on gathering numbers will be in place when we first move to Alert Level 2. Cabinet will review Alert Level 2 restrictions on Monday 25 May.

These are the most important things that you can do:

  • COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  • Keep your distance from other people in public.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline and get tested.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, regularly disinfect surfaces.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  • Keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

Financial Hardship Survey

NZISA recognises the financial hardship international students are facing due to the unprecedented nature and impacts of the pandemic. With the support of Education New Zealand, we have created a survey to determine what appropriate responses are needed to support international students facing financial hardship.

Fill out the survey here.


NZISA will be updating and sharing official information relevant to international students on our Facebook and Instagram. As follows are some of the resources we have shared:

Updates & information

*See official COVID-19 information from the New Zealand Government here.

*See official information for international students, including guidance on Alert Level 2, on NauMai NZ.

For the latest updates, information and advice on COVID-19 from the Ministry of Health, please click here.

For COVID-19 updates from the Ministry of Education, please click here.

For the most recent COVID-19 update from Education NZ, please click here.

For the most recent COVID-19 update from Immigration NZ, please click here.


Essential Supplies and Services
  • CDEM 0800 numbers – for if you are out of supplies and struggling to get basic food. For more information on essential services, see here.
Racism & discrimination
  • Human Rights Commission – toll-free InfoLine for lodging complaints regarding discrimination or racism. Phone 0800496877. Alternatively, fill in an online form here.
Health & wellbeing
  • Healthline – free 24-hour phone service for health advice and information from a trusted registered nurse. Phone 0800 611 116. For health-related calls about COVID-19, call 0800 358 5453.
  • Asian Family Services – free, professional and confidential support for people who speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Hindi languages. If you would like to speak with a qualified counsellor, you can contact the Asian Helpline, 0800 862 342 (available Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).
  • 1737, need to talk? – free 24–hour phone or text counselling service with trained counsellors for anyone feeling down, anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed. Text or call 1737. If you’re having trouble calling with this number, call 0800 1737 1737.
  • The Low Down – free 24-hour counselling for anyone feeling down, stuck, anxious or depressed. Phone 0800 111 757 or text 5626. You can also email or webchat.
  • Anxiety New Zealand – free 24-hour phone counselling for people with anxiety or anyone feeling anxious. Phone 0800 269 4389.
  • Samaritans – free 24-hour phone counselling for anyone feeling lonely, stressed at work or study, sad or depressed, or having relationship or family problems, or thinking about suicide. Phone 0800 726 666.
  • Lifeline – free 24-hour phone counselling with qualified counsellors and trained volunteers for anyone who is feeling lonely, sad or bullied, having relationship or work problems, or thinking about suicide. Phone 0800 111 777 or text ‘ Help’ to 4357.

Insurance & health care

International students are eligible for publicly funded health services if suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. This means you are covered for any health care costs (e.g. testing, hospitalisation, etc.) if you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

According to NauMai NZ (under ‘Student eligibility for health care’), 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.

StudentSafe insurance

Most international students have health insurance under Allianz’s StudentSafe Inbound insurance. Please note that StudentSafe is only processing claims in relation to COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis and may not accept your claim as general exclusions apply (see the insurance policy wording here, page 14 clause 22(c)). This means any travel expenses incurred due to COVID-19 (e.g. cancelled flights) may not be covered by StudentSafe insurance after 28th February 2020. Any health care costs incurred due to COVID-19, such as testing or hospitalisation, will be public funded and not covered by insurance.

If you are unwell

Monitor your symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. Symptoms include:

  • a cough;
  • a high temperature (at least 38°C);
  • shortness of breath;
  • sore throat;
  • sneezing and runny nose;
  • temporary loss of smell.

If you have these symptoms please call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453 or you can call your doctor immediately. If you’re outside New Zealand call +64 9 358 5453 or your doctor. Call your doctor before visiting. Healthline or your doctor will advise if testing is required and will give further instructions. If testing is required, please ensure you have an appointment for testing booked either through Healthline or your doctor.


Wage subsidies

If your visa allows you to work in NZ, you are eligible for a wage subsidy, if your employer is eligible. More details on the wage subsidy, including frequently asked questions by employees, are available on the Work and Income website. If you have a question or concern about breaches of minimum employment obligations, you can contact Employment NZ on 0800 20 90 20 or email at

Working conditions

International students working in essential services, i.e. in supermarkets and healthcare services, can now work more than 20 hours per week.

International students currently employed in healthcare roles (including aged residential care) can work more than 20 hours per week for a period of 3 months.

International students currently employed by supermarkets owned by Woolworths New Zealand Limited, Foodstuffs North Island Limited or Foodstuffs South Island Limited, can work more than 20 hours per week for a period of 30 days up until 25 April 2020.

Immigration & visas

Due to border closures, visas expiring between 2 April and 9 July 2020 will be extended automatically. Please renew your visa online if it expires before 2 April or if this is not applicable, contact Immigration New Zealand at 0508 225 288 regarding your specific situation – an interim visa will be issued.

Discrimination & racism

What should I do if I am being discriminated against?

If you are experiencing any issues with discrimination, please contact the Human Rights Commission at 0800 496 877 or make a complaint using their online complaint form.

Discriminatory landlords or other accommodation providers

If you are needing help finding accommodation or dealing with discriminatory landlords, please contact the Tertiary Education Commission helpline at 0800 123 797.


I am unable to return to New Zealand due to the travel ban. What should I do?

If you are affected by the travel ban and are unable to return to New Zealand, please immediately inform your education provider. This is important so that your education provider can ensure you are receiving appropriate and adequate support.

Most education providers are using online forms to register students affected by the travel ban. This is to ensure students are put in touch with someone who can assist with their specific concerns and provide appropriate forms of support. Please refer to your education provider’s website for more information.

Who should I contact about visa or accommodation issues?

If you are facing visa issues or accommodation issues due to the travel ban, please email us* and inform your education provider. As the situation develops, education providers may not be aware of certain arising issues and need to be kept up-to-date.

For specific COVID-19 related immigration queries, contact the Immigration Contact Centre on 0508 225 288 (within NZ) or +64 9 952 1679 (outside NZ).

What is NZISA doing to support students affected by the travel ban?

NZISA is in contact with the Ministry of Education and Immigration New Zealand regarding any issues arising due to the travel ban. NZISA is also working with ISANA NZ and members of our Representative Council to monitor support provisions and progress on an institutional-level.

* Please note that any information provided to us may be shared with the Ministry of Education and Immigration New Zealand. This is so they are informed on issues faced by international students due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We do not share any private or personal information pertaining to students.

Any other issues related to education

For any other information that your tertiary education provider is unable to help with, call the Tertiary Education Commission on 0800 123 797.