University of Otago Welcomed 30 Student Returnees This Year, 50 Others Expected to Return Soon

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

University of Otago

Around 30 returning international students have arrived at the University of Otago in New Zealand this year, while 50 others are on their way to return to the university.

The university international director Jason Cushen expressed optimism over the upcoming approvals, claiming that 250 international students of the University of Otago have fulfilled the government’s criteria to return to the country, Erudera.com reports.

Nevertheless, only 160 of the 1250 spaces were allocated for the university, available for the first two groups of returning students.

“Otago has a team dedicated to keeping in touch and making this process as easy as possible; this happens from the beginning of and through the nomination period until after the student arrives on campus,” Cushen said.

Among others, the university expressed the willingness to partially cover the costs of the managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) for students returning under the arrangements of the first two groups.

In the meantime, in case students need financial support, they can access the student relief funding once they return to the campus.

Last month, international students were first permitted to return to the university and complete their studies. Afterwards, in an attempt to support New Zealand’s economic recovery, during the last week, 500 MIQ spaces were allocated for international arrivals for a two-week period over the next ten months.

According to an announcement on the government’s MIQ website, the costs for temporary entry class visa holders for MIQ spaces reached $5520 for the first or only one person in a room.

Students who met the government’s criteria were contacted by the embassy and then received the confirmation that by fulfilling the criteria, they would be allowed to return to university.

In order for international students to receive a visa, the living expenses increased to $20,000, up from the previous amount, which was $15,000. The government pointed out that international students now need to have more money in order to be able to support themselves while staying in New Zealand.

In March, New Zealand reported hundreds of job losses due to the financial difficulties triggered by a lack of international enrolments. Yet, Otago was the only university in the country which did not report any loss.

By the end of March, Immigration New Zealand announced it has stopped processing visa applications for all non-residents due to border restrictions.

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