Changes excite foreign students

The Government has made substantial changes to the Immigration regime.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is introducing further changes, especially on the issue and regulation of student visas, in an effort to reduce the delay in processing at the Palmerston North branch.

INZ has asked students to apply for their visa as soon as a New Zealand institution confirms their admission, in order to avoid delays later. Applications that are complete in all respects with the relevant documents are often processed without much delay. Officials say that about 30% all applications submitted manually are incomplete.

Effective February 7, 2011, applicants (including students) would be considered for grant of interim visas, while their fresh applications are processed. This new regime will allow student to begin or continue their studies in the interim period.

Not a Right

No one is entitled to an interim visa as a matter of right. The decision to grant or reject an application rests solely with Immigration New Zealand officials or the Immigration Minister.

There is no right of appeal against a decision not to grant an interim visa.

In most cases, an interim visa will be granted automatically by electronic means, and there is no fee and no visa label. People granted interim visas will be notified by email or letter.

The interim visa will be valid until the date a person’s application for a temporary visa is decided (up to a maximum of six months).

The other significant change is the extension of the validity of Police Clearance Certificates and Medical Certificates for foreign fee-paying students from two to three years.

I believe that this is a significant change and will reduce delay in a large number of student applications.

Accommodation requirements for student visas are also being simplified. Students aged 18 years and over will no longer have to provide an accommodation guarantee.

Arunima Dhingra is Director of Aims Global Education & Immigration Services Ltd, and a licensed immigration adviser based in Auckland. The firm has an office in India. She can be contacted on 021-2575250. Email:

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