Immigration New Zealand says people stuck here with visas that expired before April 1 must get them renewed, and urges those who can't to get in contact urgently.
Indian national Geeta Arora, whose visa expired on March 20, remains stuck in an Auckland hotel with her extended family members, and says she had tried repeatedly without success to get her visa renewed.
"I have tried to send the visa renewal application form by post but it was closed, and I have tried to file it online but also not successful," said Arora.
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Arora said she hoped the agency would grant her an interim visa on humanitarian grounds because she was stuck here due to travel restrictions imposed both by India and New Zealand.
"I will leave for India on the very first flight available to me," she said.
Another Indian tourist, whose visa expired on March 22, said he had run out of money even to pay for food and accommodation - and renewing the visa was "the last thing on my mind now".
"To be honest, I'd be happy if they came and get me and lock me up because at least I will get free shelter and food until I get my flight home," said the man who did not want to be named.
He had a flight booked for India on March 20, but it was cancelled after India announced it was closing it's border to all international flights.
An INZ spokeswoman said people currently in NZ who feel they are unable to renew their visas are encouraged to contact the agency about their individual situation.
"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," she said.
Those unable to do so are urged to email their circumstances to firstname.lastname@example.org with their personal details, copy of their passport, contact details, an explanation of their circumstances and type of visa requested.
"INZ, as part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is continuing to work with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and other relevant agencies around support for travellers and temporary migrants as part of the All of Government Covid-19 response," the spokeswoman said.
An epidemic management notice which came into effect today meant holders of a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of April 2 to July 9, 2020 will have their visas automatically extended to September 25, 2020.
But this did not apply to those whose visas expired before April 1.
"We understand the current situation is impacting people in many ways and are doing all we can to provide assistance to people in need," the spokeswoman said.
MSD is advising people who are here from overseas and experiencing financial difficulty during the Covid-19 alert level four to talk to their respective embassy or consulate for assistance.
This includes workers here on a Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, working holiday, short-term visa, students and tourists.
Stranded visitors are also asked to check the ministry's website in the coming weeks for updates.
"The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) operated by MBIE is providing assistance to people who need help finding temporary accommodation to self-isolate in," the spokeswoman said.
This service was for those who are unable to self-isolate in their own homes or are travellers and do not already have suitable self-isolation accommodation arranged.
There is a cost for temporary accommodation and the ministry will work with users on how to meet this cost.
More information available at https://temporaryaccommodation.mbie.govt.nz/.