The foreign education business in New Zealand will ‘completely resume’ on July 31 when the country’s border reopens two months ahead of schedule, according to the government. Changes in post-study work privileges have also been highlighted.
“New Zealand is in high demand and is now completely open for business,” Jacinda Ardern announced on May 11. “On July 31, the international border between New Zealand and Australia will reopen to all tourists and visa holders two months sooner than planned.”
The new revisions will allow for “substantially simplified immigration processes,” visa extensions, and a new “green list” of hard-to-fill professions aimed at attracting and retaining high-skilled employees to fill skill shortages in fields such as healthcare, engineering, trade, and technology. According to Education Minister Chris Hipkins, the reopening will allow the foreign education sector to begin rebuilding in a sustainable manner.
“Over 5,000 international students have already been confirmed for admission as part of earlier border waivers, meaning they might be here by mid-July.” “From the end of July, all overseas students who match the standard entry criteria will be able to enrol for study here,” stated Chris Hipkins.
Universities New Zealand had requested that the 5,000 student quota be increased in time for the second term in July and August. The latest announcement has left the organisation “delighted.” The administration has also implemented policy measures to ensure that the country continues to attract “serious students.”
Post-study work privileges will no longer be granted to those enrolled in non-degree level courses unless they fill defined shortages and skilled jobs. In addition, the government is limiting the length of post-study work possibilities to match the length of their studies. It thus suggests that students who have studied for 30 weeks in the country in other areas will no longer be permitted to work in New Zealand for up to three years. According to the administration, master’s and doctoral students will be able to work in the country for up to three years after finishing their studies.
Students will also be unable to apply for a second post-study visa in New Zealand, according to the announcement.
“The future will look different,” Hipkins predicted. “We will not return to the nation’s volume over value policy, which became a backdoor to residency for lower-skilled and lower-paid foreign workers, who were then vulnerable to exploitation.”
The revisions will aim to attract students to study in New Zealand “while simultaneously closing the backdoor route to residency,” he added.
Moving the staged reopening from October to July 31 provides “much-needed clarity for our existing and prospective international students,” according to Chris Whelan, chief executive of Universities New Zealand – Te Pkai Tara.
“[The students] endured an anxious and difficult two years of being stranded outside the nation due to border restrictions.” “They may now be confident that, subject to Immigration New Zealand visa processing capacity, they will be in New Zealand and at their chosen university in time for the start of the 2023 academic year, and in some circumstances, later in 2022.”
He said that the organisation, which represents the country’s eight colleges, has long advocated for an early border reopening. Whelan also stated that the government listened to the industry by establishing the “updated cost-of-living funding required by international students at $20,000 per year rather than any higher, which would have been challenging for students.” He expects to learn more about a revamped worldwide education plan on May 12.
“It was encouraging to hear Education Minister Chris Hipkins declare today that the government is dedicated to going out into the globe to sell New Zealand international education and how appealing it is.” “We’re excited to learn more about this, as well as the overall international education plan refresh,” Whelan added.
According to Ainslie Moore, director of the University of Auckland’s international office, the change will result in international students switching from online to in-person learning. She went on to say that the university is “more than happy to take on” the issue. Around 3,500 international students from the University of Auckland are currently studying abroad and will be able to apply for a student visa beginning July 31.
“International students enrich and diversify our campuses while also contributing significantly to research and the workforce outside of the university.” They make a significant contribution to our campus community and to our city, and we are delighted to see them return,” Moore said.
Also as the country’s fourth-largest export market, contributing approximately $5.1 billion in economic activity before to Covid, New Zealand now has “a lot of catching up to do,” according to Universities New Zealand.
“Our key competitors, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, reopened to international students last year,” Whelan explained. International university student enrollments were unexpectedly 72 percent of pre-Covid levels in 2021, but are now under 30 percent, according to the organisation.
“However, New Zealand and our universities are appealing to international students.” All of the universities are ranked in the top 500 of over 18,000 universities worldwide, and we know that New Zealand’s welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment, along with a spectacular natural setting, is an essential component in our international students’ decision-making.”
“New Zealand has a strong international education brand and is often recognised as a desirable destination for students.” It enriches us while also linking us to the rest of the world and strengthening our reputation abroad,” Chris Hipkins underlined.
“Universities are thrilled and completely prepared to welcome back our international students,” Whelan said.
“We have missed the brightness and diversity they provide to our communities, both on and off campus.” We look forward to seeing the exchange of ideas and the better learning experience that occurs when people from different cultures and backgrounds join together.”
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