New batch of international students allowed from April 2021

But restricted to degree and postgraduate courses; quarantine charges imposed

Staff Reporter
Wellington, January 14, 2021

Education Minister Chris Hipkins  (RNZ Photo by Samuel Rillstone)

The government will allow 1000 foreign students to enter the country from April as part of the recovery plan for international education, it has been announced.

Priority areas set

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said that the students must be part-way through a degree or postgraduate course and would have to pay for the cost of their time in managed isolation.

Education providers have been lobbying the government to reopen the border to foreign students, who are worth more than $5 billion a year to the economy.

He said that priority would be given to students who were closest to completing their qualification.

Education New Zealand Chief Executive Grant McPherson (ENZ Website)

He issued the following Statement:

The students will return to New Zealand in phases, beginning with a cohort of 300 that will be able to return from April, with the remaining students returning throughout the year as MIQ availability allows.

The return of these students will not affect the ability of Kiwis to return home and it is balanced against the requirement for skilled workers to enter the country.

They will be subject to the same border rules and quarantine regime as all other arrivals – with any additional restrictions depending on where they come from.

Nothing exceeds health

The government’s top priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of all people in New Zealand and it had a responsibility to carefully balance its decisions, to support New Zealand’s economic recovery.

This border exception delivers on a part of the recovery plan for international education.

It underscores the government’s commitment to the international education sector, which is important in the country’s long-term economic recovery from Covid-19.

Arriving students must book their space through the allocation system and would be billed the standard charges for managed isolation.

They should also do more to support themselves in New Zealand, with the living expenses that are required for international students to be granted a visa now raised to $20,000 – up from $15,000,” he said.

The annual economic value of 1000 degree-level international students is estimated at $49 million in wider economic contribution, including approximately $27 million in tuition fees.

Education New Zealand happy

Education New Zealand Chief Executive Grant McPherson welcomed the announcement, saying that it demonstrated New Zealand’s commitment to international education.

This border exception follows and builds on the earlier announcement of an exception for 250 PhD and Master’s students, who are now confirming their visas before returning to New Zealand, he said in a Statement.

Mr McPherson said that international education has wide-ranging benefits for New Zealand, and that a carefully-managed return of small cohorts of students is a part of the government’s Recovery Plan for International Education.

“Before the onset of Covid-19, international education was New Zealand’s fifth-largest export, contributing $5 billion to the economy and supporting around 45,000 jobs. New Zealand has been enriched by the diversity of perspectives that international students bring to our classrooms, lecture theatres and communities,” he said.

Choice of Institutions

Eligible students will be enrolled across a range of tertiary study providers including universities, polytechnics and institutes of technology, wananga, and private training establishments and will be returning to New Zealand in phases to manage demand on MIQ facilities.

Mr McPherson said that education providers in New Zealand will identify and nominate eligible students who meet the criteria; students will not need to apply for places.

To be eligible students must hold or have held a valid visa to study in 2020 and have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 towards their current qualification and be returning to complete their study with their current provider.

“This is a good next step, and we look forward to welcoming more students as soon as the time is right,” McPherson said.

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