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Welfare assistance for foreign nationals will soon be available, through a partnership between the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and New Zealand Red Cross.

Due to reports that some foreign nationals have been unable to meet basic needs like food and accommodation, this programme has been designed to provide eligible people with the ability to meet those needs. This assistance is intended to be temporary, and to bridge the gap until foreign nationals are able to return home.


This assistance programme will run from 1 July 2020 - 1 October 2020.

How can people apply?

People who are struggling can check their eligibility and apply for assistance through the program website.

What help will I get?

The programme is intended to help basic, urgent and immediate needs, such as:

  • food and household goods
  • blankets, hot water bottles and basic clothing
  • over-the-counter medication
  • accommodation
  • utilities e.g. electricity and gas
  • pre-paid phone cards to enable emergency communication with consulate/embassy
  • petrol and travel assistance for travel to a new location for employment purposes or to an airport to leave New Zealand.

Will it fund flights home?


How have foreign nationals been supported so far?

Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups have been providing support to foreign migrants who are struggling due to COVID-19.

Who is eligible?

Each applicant will be considered on a case-by-case basis, to make sure that support is given to those that need it most.

Assistance will be given once it has been established that the person is currently undergoing serious hardship, and have exhausted all other options for support e.g. monetary savings, other assets, insurance, consular assistance, or help from family or friends.

This support is available for all classes of temporary visa holders. Assistance will be provided within 48 hours.

Our advice

Visa holders who are experiencing serious hardship, and who have no other options for support left should check their eligibility on the program website, and apply for assistance.

Our experts

If you have any questions or need help navigating this process, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team.

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