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COVID-19: important updates for IDP students

As you will be aware, New Zealand has introduced health and safety measures and travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

We understand this may be confusing if you're commencing your studies, so read the below information to find out if you're impacted by the changes, and where you can go for support.

Will I be impacted?

Anyone hoping to travel to and from New Zealand will be impacted by the recent changes as the New Zealand Government announced that:

  • they are closing borders to almost all travellers (non- residents and non-New Zealand citizens) from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020.

  • Returning residents and citizens must isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival.

Information is updated regularly, so it's important to keep up to date with latest news from new Zealand.

For the latest information about the Coronavirus in New Zealand, visit these websites:

New Zealand Immigration website for the latest news on New Zealand’s travel restrictions. The travel restrictions will be reviewed every 48 hours.  

World Health Organizaton: WHO website for information on protecting yourself from Coronavirus.

NauMai NZ  - a webpage run by New Zealand Education for international students in New Zealand. Through NauMai NZ, you can find current information on the COVID-19 situation and sign up for email updates.

New Zealand Government Ministry of Health

New Zealand Government Ministry of Education


Coronavirus New Zealand Whatsapp Feature

A government WhatsApp channel is now LIVE to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID 19. Access the Government's WhatsApp channel to get the latest information on COVID-19 cases, symptoms, financial support, and mental health advice.

International students in New Zealand

If you're an international student who is required to self isolate, read the New Zealand Ministry of Health's guidance to self-isolate for 14 days.

Self-isolating means you're required to stay in your local accommodation. You're required to avoid going out into public spaces such as restaurants, supermarkets, workplaces, universities and any other public places that you will come into contact with people. You're also required to avoid receiving visitors into your home or local accommodation.

If you're starting your studies during the time you're required to self-isolate, contact your school or university to discuss your study options. Many universities have put in place measures to assist students who are required to self-isolate.

If you, or any friends and family start showing flu-like symptoms such as a cough, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath, it's important to contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 or get in touch with your local doctor.

If you're visiting a local doctor, please make sure you call before you visit and explain your symptoms and travel history to ensure they're prepared to receive you.

These measures are put in place to limit the possibility of spreading the Coronavirus to the general population.

How do I get food and other essentials?

Ask others who are not in isolation to get food and other essentials for you. If you are new to the country and don’t know anyone who can help you, you can order your groceries online.




New World

Visa Conditions for International students in New Zealand

COVID-19: The New Zealand Government’s Epidemic Management Notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect on Thursday 2 April 2020. Find out what this means for you:

Visa Holder Extensions

  • holders of a work, student, or visitor visa with an expiry date of 1 April 2020 or earlier and who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply online for a new visa. An interim visa will be issued

  • holders of a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who are in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 will have their visas automatically extended to 25 September 2020. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders

You can find your visa expiry date in your eVisa letter.

Access Immigration New Zealand  for more information for students visa holders

Will this impact my student visa?

If you have deferred your study to later in the year or early 2021, and your visa will remain valid over this period, your education provider should notify INZ. Your file will be updated with this information. Your visa remains valid and your visa travel conditions still apply

If you have a student visa valid until 31 March 2020 you will need to apply offshore for a new student visa. INZ cannot extend visa durations. Visa fees or levies paid for completed applications will not be refunded or deferred for another visa

If you decide to cancel your study plans, contact your education provider. If your student visa application has not been processed you can withdraw that application. Visa fees for withdrawn applications will be refunded

You can also get in touch with New Zealand Immigration or your IDP Counsellor via Zoom, Skype, phone or WhatsApp.for any questions about your student visa.

Will this impact my university start date?

If you're enrolled in Semester 1 2020 and unable to begin classes due to the travel bans or the 14-day self-isolation, you'll need to get in touch with your university or school as soon as possible to discuss your enrolment.

Many New Zealand universities have put in place changes to assist international students who have been impacted by the recent travel bans. We recommend you contact your university or school as soon as possible to discuss your possible study options or deferring your studies to start at a later date.

If you would like more information or support, you can also contact your IDP Counsellor or contact your IDP Counsellor at 0800 005 728 or via Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp. 

You can check out the following university websites for current advice and information that may assist you:

Auckland University of Technology

Massey University

The University of Auckland

The University of Waikato

University of Canterbury

University of Otago

Victoria University of Wellington

Covid-19 wage subsidy

Given the impact of Covid 19, the government has announced a subsidy for employers to pass onto their employees.

This translates to a direct payment of: 

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate)

  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate)

The payment is over a 12-week period. Companies are eligible if there have lost 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue.

Changes to student accommodation

If you have arranged for student accommodation and can't travel into the country, then it is vital you check in with your student accommodation provider about your next steps.

Some student accommodation providers may require you to provide additional information or may change or delay your accommodation arrangements.

Where can I go for support?

The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus presents an emotionally challenging situation for many international students. The spread of the virus may be causing you or your friends and family distress or anxiety, especially if you have loved ones in affected areas or have not been able to return home or to New Zealand because of the recent travel bans.

If you have any questions or want to know more, the New Zealand Government have created a dedicated contact centre for any coronavirus-related immigration enquiries.

You can contact them toll-free from New Zealand landlines on 508 225 288 or from overseas on +64 9 952 1679.

If you already have a student visa, or have applied for one, make sure you have your client number, application number and passport number ready.

For the latest news and updates on the Coronavirus for travellers, visit the New Zealand Immigration website. 

Meeting IDP counsellors

Our team and counsellors are available through face-to-face, phone and zoom appointments to offer you student placement services and support.

Changes in international flight arrangements

If you have flight arrangements in place, your plans may be affected by the recent travel bans or cancelled flights.

Many major airlines and countries are cancelling flights or restricting entry, even countries not listed on the New Zealand Government's travel bans. If you have overseas travel plans, it's important to regularly check your airline's website or contact the airline directly for next steps and options to travel at a later date.

International students in other countries

For the latest information about how other countries are responding to the Coronavirus, visit the country’s government websites.

United Kingdom: National Health Service 

Australia: Department of Home Affairs 

Canada: Government of Canada 

United States: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention 

Ireland: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Changes to IELTS testing

There are currently changes being made to IELTS testing. Visit the IELTS website to find out if the changes will affect you.


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