First Cohort of Overseas Students to Return to New Zealand as of April

New Zealand Oceania COVID-19 International Studies by Erudera News Jan 18, 2021

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One thousand international tertiary students, degree level or above qualifications, will be permitted to return to New Zealand in phases as of April 2021, after the Government of New Zealand approved an exception class.

The exception includes students who started their studies in the country but remained overseas once the border restrictions began to be imposed in order to restraint the further spread of COVID-19, Erudera reports.

According to the Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, the first group of 300 students will return to the country in April, while the remaining students will return during the whole year if allowed by the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ).

“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,” theminister said, claiming that students will be obliged to respect the same border rules and the quarantine measure upon their arrival as well as other extra restrictions depending on the country where they come from.

Hipkins reiterated that the Government’s main priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of every person in New Zealand, and it has the responsibility to balance its decisions carefully.

“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,” he said.

Among others, he noted that these students must book their space through the allocation system, and will have to pay the standard charges for managed isolation.

At the same time, international students must also be able to support themselves in the country, with living expenses in order to be awarded a visa, which has increased from $15,000 to $20,000.

“The annual economic value of this group of 1000 degree-level international students is estimated to be roughly $49 million in wider economic contribution, including approximately $27 million in tuition fees,” Hipkins added.

Although priority will be given to students whose graduation is near, in order to be qualified for the exception, students should:

  • currently hold or have had a study visa in 2020
  • be pursuing studies for a bachelor degree or other above qualification
  • have pursued studies in New Zealand during 2019 or 2020 for their current qualification
  • will return to study with their current provider
  • must be staying in the country to complete their degree

A survey including 300 agents from 54 countries worldwide carried out by Navitas, has concluded that New Zealand is listed highest as a safe and stable study destination for international students.

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