International students in New Zealand

Find additional information for international students who are studying at Victoria University of Wellington.

This page was last updated on 28 May 2020.

International student support

The team at Wellington University International continues to support international students, in New Zealand and overseas. The team can be contacted directly by email international-support@vuw.ac.nz for information, advice, or guidance on visas, insurance, referrals, specialist scholarship support (such as the New Zealand Scholarships Programme), and other wellbeing and support needs. One-on-one appointments by phone or Zoom can be requested through email.

International student advisers

International student advisers are here to provide information, advice, and guidance to you during your time in New Zealand while studying at the University. Their primary role is student support, rather than academic advice. The team can also provide information about visas and insurance.

We understand that living and studying in a foreign country can be challenging and talking about it can help. This is particularly important now, when you may be anxious about your family overseas and what is happening in your home country.

Support and advice

  • Student Counselling offers confidential help with any issues affecting your sense of wellbeing, relationships, or learning. Appointments are covered by Studentsafe University insurance.
  • Lifeline provides a confidential and anonymous phone-counselling service. You can discuss personal problems with a professional Lifeline counsellor 24 hours a day on their toll-free number: 0800 111 777.
  • Samaritans offers a 24-hour anonymous listening service on their Wellington phone line: 04 473 9739.

Medical help

University Health Services (Mauri Ora) will begin in-person doctor, nurse, and counselling appointments over the coming few weeks, while continuing some online services. You must phone first to make an appointment on 04 463 5308 or phone the University’s contact centre on 0800 04 04 04 and they will transfer you.

If you are unwell, you may also call Healthline 0800 611 116 for advice from a nurse.

What COVID-19 means for us all

Limiting the spread of COVID-19 means some changes to the way we are used to living.

We are coming out of a seven-week period of limited services, and limited freedoms, and moving into something that feels more like life in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The key messages from government about this period are:

  • 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 university. 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 a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

You are now welcome back on the University campus to study, and you can travel within New Zealand for the purposes of tourism or visiting friends and family. You can now go to a restaurant and have a meal, with a group of 10 people; and you can go back to the gym and swimming pool.

Please look at the government’s COVID-19 website for further information on level 2.

Face masks

The Ministry of Health’s current advice is that for most people in the community, face masks are not recommended. For people with symptoms of a cold or flu, there may be benefits in wearing a mask to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

If you wish to use a face mask, please do so without fearing stigma. We know that in many cultures, face masks are worn by people routinely as a courtesy to those around them and to guard against pollution and pollen.

Visa information

People with 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 now will have their visas extended to 25 September 2020. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.

Immigration NZ is processing Full Fee Paying student visas again for applicants who are already in New Zealand. You can find your visa expiry date in your eVisa letter. More information for Student Visa holders.

Financial and insurance information

We encourage you to continue to study online with Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. But here is the information you need to know if you would like to withdraw from study.

The University has made some changes to the course withdrawal policy in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students.

Students will be able to withdraw from courses up until the final day of teaching in Trimester 1, 26 June, without requiring the approval usually needed from their faculty. Note that a refund may not be applicable.

If you are considering withdrawing from one or more of your courses, visit the Fees reconsideration page to determine if you may be eligible for a refund of your fees. Before withdrawing, you should check with Wellington University International if it may affect your visa.

Studentsafe University insurance and COVID-19

If you contract COVID-19 in New Zealand, and you are insured with Studentsafe University insurance, the medical cost of treatment will be covered. But if you have other types of insurance, you need to contact your insurance company to find out whether they will cover it. More information about Studentsafe University insurance.

Support for online study

Information to help you study online is available at the online learning hub—you may wish to complete courses in skills for online learning.

Students who have technical issues with Blackboard can get in touch by phone 04 463 5050, email servicedesk@vuw.ac.nz or via webchat.

Additional resources and course materials are provided on Blackboard by the subject librarians from the university library.

COVID-19 wage subsidy

International students who are legally entitled to work and who are employed by a New Zealand employer are covered by the wage subsidy. The subsidy covers employees who are working part-time or on a casual or contract basis. The subsidy is paid to employers. It does not cover international students who were not in employment before the outbreak of COVID-19.

Work and Income has more information about the COVID-19 wage subsidy.