International graduates are asking the government to remember its promise about allowing migrants who used to live in New Zealand to return.

A year on from the border closure, post-study work visa holders are still stuck overseas.

Marketing graduate Chestha Arora, 25, is one of 5685 post-study visa holders currently overseas.

She went to India to see her mother, who had undergone surgery, and was supposed to return on 31 March.

Chestha Arora.

Chestha Arora. Photo: Supplied

She said while other temporary migrants were given border exemptions last September, she feared graduate workers were not even on the government's radar.

"I've heard a lot of heartbreaking stories and a lot of people with post-study work visa holders - their visas have expired and they are literally hopeless, they have no idea what to do," she said.

Arora said her belongings, including car, electronics and documents were still in New Zealand.

She asked others to put themselves in migrants' shoes, some of whose children had been at school here.

"We are the worst hit financially because we have to pay back our [student] loans, we have to pay back interest."

"When the borders were first closed there were around 2000 to 2500 post-study work visa holders and over this one year I'm pretty sure a lot of exemptions have been granted on humanitarian basis," she said.

"So our number isn't that large that the government cannot consider us if they wanted to, but the thing is it's all about intentions now - whether or not they want to allow us back.

"Unfortunately, a lot of time has gone by and during this while people's attitudes have changed and the government so far has not mentioned anything about the post-study work visa holders, they've taken back the essential work visa holders, they've taken back the other temporary work visa holders.

"They have also granted exemption to the international students, but we were international students once as well - it feels really horrible that we are being discriminated against.

"My request would only be that please recall the promises that you have made that you will consider the post-study work visa holder, and please allow us back as soon as possible."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi listed the exemptions granted for other visa holders.

''At this stage, we cannot provide a time for when post-study work visa holders may be able to enter the country," he said.

"While we understand the disappointment and challenges the border closures have had on many people, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, which requires strict border restrictions. Offshore visa holders will need to consider their options based on their personal circumstances, and taking into account the uncertainty Covid has created."