Otago Polytechnic

Covid-19 info for international learners

Updated 14 May 2020

Otago Polytechnic is looking forward to welcoming back our international students to campus from Monday 18 May. We've been working hard to make sure the campus is safe and your learning can continue. 

We know this has been a very difficult time for our international learners and we hope that being able to come back to campus helps you.  

Before coming back on to campus, you need to:

  • complete an online course called Covid-19 Level 2 - Working on campus (the link to this course has been sent to you by email)
  • download our mobile phone app that will let you sign in and sign out of campus 
  • this app will also allow you to complete contact tracing 
  • if you don't have a mobile phone, don't worry - you can complete contact tracing on your computer or in a notebook.  

Your Student ID card is your swipe card access to campus. This will only start to work again when you finish the online course. 

More information about on campus guidelines, how to do contact tracing, library reopening times and support information can be found here. 

We know that some of our learners might feel anxious about returning to campus. If you need support or want to talk to someone, please contact us:  

Student Success Dunedin: 0800 762 786  |  studentsuccessdn@op.ac.nz   

Student Success Central: 0800 765 9276 |  censtudentsuccess@op.ac.nz    

Student Success Auckland: 0800 111 212 |  studentsuccessaic@op.ac.nz   

After-hours support: (+64) 21 735 421 


As an international student, you are a valued part of our community. We want to ensure that during Covid-19, you stay safe and have access to the information, care and support you need. 

Education New Zealand have put together the below information about support in case you are in urgent need of essentials like food, medicine or cleaning products.   

Support 

  Your place of study

Under the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016, your place of study has an important responsibility for your health and wellbeing. Contact the international office (or your usual contact) in the first instance to see if they can help you. 

  Local groups

Community, faith-based and cultural groups are providing support to those in need.

To find out what is available in your area, please contact Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Complete the form at cab.org.nz/find-a-cab/contact-us or phone 0800 367 222.

  Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups

This service is intended for people who don’t have any other options available to them. It operates seven days a week from 7.00am to 7.00pm.

You can find your local group on the CDEM website. You can also ask to speak with a translator if you need help.

  Foodbanks

If you are in urgent need of food or other essentials, you can get a free food parcel from a foodbank in your region on the New Zealand Foodbanks website.

We suggest you have your student ID with you when you call.

  Embassies

You can contact your home country’s embassy in New Zealand from this website - mfat.govt.nz/en/embassies

Please don’t be too proud to ask for help.

These are difficult times and these organisations are here to help you. Please also join us at NauMai NZ where you can find information to support you during your New Zealand journey – content is being updated regularly.

If you have any questions, please contact Education New Zealand response@enz.govt.nz


We know that you will also have questions about many things related to your living and study costs.

We've tried to answer some of these below but please contact us with any further questions you have.  

Finance

  Can OP provide a fees reduction or financial assistance to help with my living costs? 

We may be able to provide some assistance with financial hardship depending on your circumstances.

Let us know your circumstances so that we can advise you.

Travel

  International student travel

As the Government is working to safely repatriate foreign nationals, international students can now choose to leave New Zealand on scheduled commercial or foreign-government assisted charter flights. To do so, they must have a confirmed international booking and travel to either Auckland or Christchurch airports by private vehicle, public transport or a single domestic flight.  

Educational providers must ensure students and their families are fully informed of the risks associated with international travel right now and have in place:

  • a transfer of care plan for students under 18 that is agreed in writing (digitally) by the student's parent or legal guardian
  • appropriate and safe supervision for students under 18 to ensure their wellbeing is maintained during their transfer of care. 

See FAQs for signatories - students on commercial or repatriation flights 

  Does my travel insurance cover extra costs related to COVID-19?

Check your policy details and contact your insurance provider directly for clarification. Have your policy number handy. 

  Can my partner or child come to New Zealand while borders are closed?

There may be limited circumstances where it is appropriate for a person to travel to New Zealand if they are not a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident or person returning to New Zealand as a resident. 

Use this INZ form if you are outside New Zealand and want to request permission to travel to New Zealand.

Study

  Will returning home affect my studies?

If you decide to go home, you will be able to study online for the duration of New Zealand’s lockdown period. However, you may not be able to do so when the lockdown is lifted.

There is uncertainty about the length of time New Zealand’s border will be closed.

We also do not know the implications for a post-study work visa where a significant part of a qualification has been delivered to students overseas. It is important that you inform studentsuccessdn@op.ac.nz and your Head of School if you decide to return home.

  Will I be able to complete my studies on time? 

If you are continuing your studies online and pass all your courses, you will complete your studies on time. If you have to defer your studies, your completion date will be pushed back.

  Online English language proficiency tests

In recognition of the limitations caused by the COVID-19 restrictions, NZQA considers that until face-to-face testing resumes, the online form of the tests listed in Table to Rule 18 can be accepted by providers as sufficient proof of English language proficiency for international students in New Zealand who wish to change programmes or providers.

More detailed information can be found on the NZQA website.

  Certified copies of documents

As a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, most learners are unable to obtain certified copies of documents in the usual way.

The TEC is temporarily amending funding conditions to provide an alternative way to verify a learner’s identity.

Read more here > 

Visas

  Will I still get a post-study work visa if I complete my final study block online?

For students in New Zealand, the online-delivery mode should not affect your visa application if you complete your qualification.

The situation is more complex for students studying offshore. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is considering options for post-study work applications for international students currently outside NZ.

Check the Immigration NZ website for updates >

  Student visa changes to support essential services

Changes have been made to relax visa restrictions for some visa holders to work in essential services to support New Zealand's response to COVID-19. Students currently employed by supermarkets and the healthcare sector will be able to work for more than 20 hours per week in certain circumstances, explained below. 

Where this applies, the student needs to discuss their plans with their education provider as they must still meet the study requirements of their student visa. 

Supermarkets 

If the student was an employee at a supermarket on 23 March 2020, they may work more than 20 hours per week from 25 March to 25 April 2020 (inclusive). 

This applies to supermarkets owned by Woolworths (Countdown, Super Value and Fresh Choice) and Foodstuffs Limited (New World, Pak n Save and Four Square). 

Healthcare sector 

If the student was employed in an essential health worker role (including aged residential care) on 3 April 2020, they can work more than 20 hours per week for the period 3 April to 3 July 2020. 

For more information, visit Immigration New Zealand