Migrant and refugee information

Information for Settlement service providers, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), community groups, or individuals who work with or know recent migrants and/or former refugees.

Information on visa extensions and changes

Extension to temporary visa expiry dates

Many student and visitor visa holders already in New Zealand have had their visa expiry dates extended.

If you hold a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date between 2 April to 9 July 2020, it has been automatically extended to 25 September 2020.

Visa duration extension

You should have received an email from Immigration New Zealand confirming your visa extension. If you have not received a notification, we might not have your contact details. please go to the Immigration New Zealand website, log in to your account and update your contact details.

Change your personal information 

Alert

If you are concerned about your visa details or you have not received a notification, you can confirm your visa expiry date and conditions by using the Visa Verification Service on our website. If you cannot use the Visa Verification Service, contact your Immigration Advisor or the INZ contact centre.
Visa Verification Service

Visa extensions and working

If your visa is extended, your visa conditions stay the same. All work visa holders can work until their visa expires on 25 September 2020. If you are a work visa holder and your visa’s conditions specify an employer and job, you must continue to work in that job and for that employer.

Changes in employment and your work visa

Some work visas require you to work for a specific employer and in a specific occupation. If you want to work in a different job or for a different employer it will be difficult to vary the conditions of your visa at this time.

The Government has relaxed visa conditions for temporary migrant workers employed in essential services and international students while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 2 and for 6 weeks following. 

Your employer must submit a request to Immigration New Zealand to vary the conditions of your visa using the form on the Immigration New Zealand website.

For more information on this see our COVID-19: Key updates page.

COVID-19: Key Updates

Applying for a new visa

If your work visa is expiring after 9 July, your visa will not be automatically extended. If you had intended to apply for a new work visa to continue working in New Zealand after your current visa expires, you need to submit an application online for a new visa. There may be delays in processing it.

Temporary postponement of visa programmes

Skilled Migrant Category and Parent Category decisions on hold

The Government has decided to postpone a number of visa programmes, including selections for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in:

  • the Skilled Migrant Category, and
  • the Parent Category.

This is a temporary measure. Immigration New Zealand will continue to reassess and determine when EOI selections can take place as the situation develops.

We acknowledge this will be disappointing for a number of people. However, while our capacity is limited we need to focus our available resources on essential services visa applications.

We also want to:

  • avoid potential public health risks that would result if we encouraged travel by individuals while New Zealand is at a heightened COVID-19 alert level
  • provide fairness to applicants by discouraging applications that we are not able to process at the moment.

Skilled Migrant Category EOIs

EOIs are normally valid for 6 months from the date of initial submission, or until there is a further draw.  Immigration New Zealand will provide more information about the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Expressions of Interest (EOIs) validity when we know how long EOI selections will be deferred for.

If you have submitted a SMC EOI and are currently in New Zealand on a temporary visa, it is your responsibility to ensure you hold and maintain a valid visa at all times.

Working Holiday Schemes

Nineteen capped Working Holiday schemes are scheduled to open within the next 6 months. These are postponed until further notice.

This affects the following countries and territories:

Estonia | Hong Kong | Slovenia | Spain | Hungary | Slovakia | Austria | Luxembourg | South Korea | Taiwan | China | Malta | Thailand | Turkey | Vietnam | Croatia | Peru | Brazil | Argentina.

When these schemes reopen, Working Holiday visa holders will be able to travel to New Zealand for the full duration of their working holiday visa.

Uncapped schemes

Uncapped Working Holiday schemes, for example those that apply to United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, are not affected by this decision and will remain open at this stage.

We will update the Immigration New Zealand website as we are able to provide more information.

Pacific Access Category and Samoan Quota programme

The Samoan Quota (SQ) and Pacific Access Category (PAC) have been postponed indefinitely.  The Government has committed to considering a new date and process for these programmes within six months.

If you have already lodged an application, it will be processed once the INZ offices in the Pacific reopen.

Temporary suspension of programme selections, ballot registrations and Working Holiday Scheme

There is a Facebook page for Pacific communities to find key information and updates regarding COVID-19.

Toso Vaka O Manu Information Page | New Zealand Government

Refugee Status Unit processing update

 

The Refugee Status Unit office is closed until further notice because New Zealand is in a State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 crisis. Some staff are working remotely but services are limited.

All scheduled interviews are postponed and processing is on hold. If you are due to submit information and documents during the Alert Level 2 period, we will let you know when to submit them. If you want to provide information, this should be done electronically and sent to the RSU email address stating client number, and copied to the Refugee and Protection Officer (RPO).

We are working on other ways to proceed with refugee status decisions. If you have a lawyer or representative, you should communicate with us through them. If urgent, you can call the RSU main office line or email them at RSU@mbie.govt.nz.

Automatic visa extensions


If your current visa has an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020, it has been automatically extended to 25 September 2020. You do not have to do anything and you will continue to have the same visa conditions. You should have received a confirmation email from Immigration New Zealand.

Alert

If you do not have a visa which enables you to work in New Zealand, you can not work here legally. 

Asylum Work Visa information

If you have already applied for an Asylum Work Visa, it will be processed when Immigration New Zealand offices reopen.

If you have recently claimed refugee or protection status in New Zealand want to submit an application for an Asylum Work Visa, you will not be able to do so at this time. You will be able to make your Work Visa Asylum application when Immigration New Zealand offices reopen.

Information in different languages

Translated information and resources about COVID-19

The COVID-19 website has all the information you need to know about COVID-19. This includes translated information and advice, and translations of the Prime Minister’s press conferences.

COVID-19

New Zealand Police
The Police are here to keep our communities safe. They created videos in different languages to explain what they were doing while New Zealand was at Covid-19 Alert level 4, and what everyone needed to do to help them.

New Zealand Police

The Office of Ethnic Communities
Video messages explaining New Zealand’s current COVID-19 situation in the following languages:
Arabic | Cantonese | English | French | Hindi | Indonesian | Korean | Mandarin | Persian/Farsi | Punjabi | Somali | Spanish | Urdu.

The Office of Ethnic Communities communities

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples
Key information about COVID-19 for Pacific communities in the following languages:
Rarotongan | Fijian | Kiribatian | Niuean | Rotuman | Samoan | Tokelauan | Tongan | Tuvaluan.

Ministry for Pacific Peoples

Red Cross New Zealand
Resources in 13 languages prepared by the community as part of their response to COVID-19.

Red Cross New Zealand

Note

All government helplines have professional interpreters available for over 180 languages.

For general help related to COVID-19 call the government helpline on 0800 779 997.

InfoNOW
A free service providing information to migrants settling in New Zealand in 17 different languages. Contact them by:

  • phone: 0800 4636 669
  • email: info@infonow.nz
  • online chat.

InfoNOW

Chinese Settlement Information Services
Chinese New Settlers Services Trust offers bilingual support for Chinese migrants online and by telephone. This includes settlement information services and education classes. They also have a dedicated multi-language support service available in:

English | Mandarin | Cantonese | Greek | Mongolian | Shanghainese | Korean | Malay | Hakka

Chinese New Settlers Services Trust

Citizens Advice Bureau
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can help you with information about COVID-19 in English. The service is available for free. You can contact them by:

  • phone: 0800 367 222
  • online chat.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Resources for Pacific people 

Key information about COVID-19 for Pacific communities in the following languages:

Rarotongan | Fijian | Kiribatian | Niuean | Rotuman | Samoan | Tokelauan | Tongan | Tuvaluan. 

Ministry for Pacific Peoples

INZ has developed a Facebook page for Pacific employees to find key information and updates regarding COVID-19. There is translated information for groups for each Pacific country. 

Toso Vaka O Manu Information Page | New Zealand Government

Healthcare information

Health measures

Health Officers are screening all travellers arriving in New Zealand, including essential workers. Travellers deemed high risk will be assessed.

Alert

Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should call Healthline 0800 358 5453 for free . They will tell you what you need to do.

You may be eligible for free healthcare services

Public hospital services are currently free for anyone who is suspected to have COVID-19. This includes all visitor visa holders and temporary visa holders who would normally not be eligible for free or subsidised health and disability services in New Zealand.

Migrants in New Zealand who have or who are suspected of having COVID-19 are eligible for funded services relating to:

  • diagnosis
  • treatment
  • follow-up services, and
  • contact tracing services.

Your information will not be shared with other agencies.

People receiving treatment for infectious diseases | Ministry of Health

Warning

You must obey self-isolation rules and any other government health measures. New visa conditions: Visa holders who do not comply with instructions from a Health Officer can be detained and deported.

Wellbeing and welfare support

If you hold a New Zealand resident visa and have lost your job, you may be able to get financial support from Work and Income while you look for work. 

Made redundant | Work and Income 

If you are in New Zealand on a temporary work visa, your employment has been affected, and you are experiencing financial difficulty talk to your Embassy or Consulate for help.

MFAT I Embassies

You can contact the following support services for further information: 

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme or Essential Workers Leave Support: Your employer may qualify for support to help pay you if your full-time or part-time employment has been affected by COVID-19.

Work and Income I COVID-19 support

Temporary Accommodation Service: assistance for people required to self-isolate to find suitable accommodation.

Temporary Accommodation Service 

Civil Defence Emergency Management support: for people who are unable to get essential supplies themselves.

National Emergency Management Agency

Kia Kaha Queenstown Lakes Community Hub:  provided by the Queenstown Lake District Council for people in Queenstown to provide information and advice regarding immigration, repatriation, employment, finance, community connection, wellbeing and welfare needs. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council on Facebook

Employment information

Employment rights and obligations

Migrant workers have the same employment rights and obligations as all other New Zealand workers. Employers and employees must discuss in good faith the implications of COVID-19 on their working arrangements.

Employers who are impacted by COVID-19 can apply for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy and COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support for all employees who are legally working in New Zealand, including employees who:

  • have a NZ work visa
  • have a condition on their NZ temporary visa that allows them to work in NZ
  • are international students whose visa allows them to work in NZ.

Up to date information is available on the Employment New Zealand website.

Employment New Zealand

Note

Employment New Zealand’s Contact Centre provides confidential help and advice on employment issues, pay and holidays. Call 0800 20 90 20.

Employment programmes

Employment programmes are available to support recent migrants who are looking for work. These include:

Family violence prevention

The Police and other agencies in New Zealand continue to take family violence and sexual violence very seriously. Family violence and sexual violence services are essential services and will remain available at Alert Level 2, even if services need to be delivered in different ways.

Alert

If you are worried for your own or someone else's safety, contact one of the helplines listed on the COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 I Family violence and sexual violence prevention

The following NGO helplines currently provide an interpreter or help in different languages:

Shakti New Zealand – a multilingual 24-hour crisis line for Women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin: 0800 742 584.

Shakti International

Safe to Talk – sexual harm helpline. Call 0800 044 334, text 4334, or email: support@safetotalk.nz.

Safe to talk

Need to Talk? 1737 – free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor who can provide information and support and referrals to another service.

1737 I Free counsellor

Information for tenants and renters

There are changes to tenancy and renting rights during this challenging time. Updated information is available on the COVID-19 website including information about ending tenancies during the lockdown, and the freeze on rent increases.

COVID-19 | Tenancy Services