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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Free GP care for resettled refugees

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If you're a former refugee and you live in Canterbury, you may be able to have free (no cost) GP or nurse visits (consultations) for your first five years in New Zealand.


You can access free GP or nurse visits if you arrived in New Zealand as a:

You'll also need to:

Children under 14 do not have to pay to see a GP or nurse under the Zero fees for under-14s scheme.

Accessing free GP visits

To access this service, please bring these documents to the receptionist of your GP practice:

You will not be eligible for free GP visits if:

When you might need to pay for care

If you're eligible, you will not have to pay for your visits with the GP or nurse, but you might have to pay for:

You can always ask your GP, nurse or pharmacist how much you will have to pay.

If the cost is a problem for you, talk to your GP or nurse or contact

Support for other health costs

Work and Income (WINZ) subsidies may also be available to you to help with your health costs including dental care and glasses.

You can talk to Work and Income in Māori, Arabic, Cantonese, Farsi, Hindi, Khmer, Mandarin, Punjabi, Samoan and Tongan.

If you've been in New Zealand for less than three years as a refugee and you have a valid Community Services Card, you may be eligible for help with dental costs. Ask your Nurse or GP to refer you to a Partnership Community Worker or email

Finding GP care

All GP practices in Canterbury offer free consultations to eligible former refugees. Find a practice where you feel comfortable. You can change GP practice if you move homes or if you want to change. There is no cost to move to another GP practice. If you're having problems finding a GP practice, email

If you do not speak English

You can have a free (no cost) and confidential professional interpreter for your appointment. Ask the receptionist about this when you book your appointment.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2022.

See also:

Communication cards in multiple languages

Getting medical help if you are new to Canterbury

Health information in multiple languages

Interpreter cards

New Zealand healthcare system

Page reference: 571032

Review key: HIMRH-125055