Visa Crunch

Foreign PhD Students Want Longer Student Visa, Want To Study Without Spending Time, Money On Getting Extensions

By Yash Yadav

International PhD students are demanding longer student visas so they can proceed with their studies without stressing over investing their precious time and money in getting extensions.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi. Source: RNZ

At Victoria University of Wellington, a doctoral candidate named Ali Khan said that the current visa normally gets terminated in three years, however, the majority of the PhD programmes could go as long as five years.

He said peers needed to go through the struggle of getting police and health checks and apply for another visa, which overburdens them emotionally and economically.

As a US resident, Khan said it could take longer to get police checks, and X-rays in the health checks is particularly not really great for their wellbeing.

Khan said, “It causes an extra incremental pain point for PhD students who are also in an extended programme. The process itself doesn’t match the programme and there are procedures within the programme that needs to be eliminated.”

One more PhD student from Victoria University, who did not want to be named, likewise said it created anxiety for them. In 2019, he came to study in New Zealand and would have to go through the visa application processes soon one year from now.

“The visa should be longer than the three years that is usually given. I think the three year window puts a lot of pressure on students. You have to start think I need to get money ready, get the extension…go through the health checks,” the PhD student said.

“I think it’s a good idea if it goes out a little further, like four or five years because I think most students don’t finish their PhD in three years.”

Migration Minister Kris Faafoi’s office did not respond to the question concerning whether a longer five-year understudy visa for PhDs would be considered however said there were possibilities for understudies who needed a more extended visa.

“The Student Visa is normally granted for the same length of time as the study paid for. There are options within the immigration system for students to get a longer visa if this is required,” the PhD student said.

The ability to remain in this nation has always been dependent on the progress made by students in a specialized course or programme, said Immigration lawyer Alex Lee.

Lee added it was reasonable for the government to ensure that a student was making progress in their study and kept on being a person with good character and their clinical status kept on being clear.

“Going and getting the clearances and submit the applications for the extension is not necessarily a difficult process but it does require some efforts,” he said. “I don’t necessarily feel that New Zealand is trying to disadvantage the students. It’s a process unfortunately everyone has to do.”

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