Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the opening of the New Zealand border on May 11, 2022. It will be a complete reopening to all, including international students, with all border controls removed. Pre-departure testing is also no longer required as of July 31 at 11:59 p.m.
“New Zealand is in demand and is now fully open for business,” Ardern said, according to AFP. The New Zealand border opening, which has been delayed by more than two months, will signal the end of one of the world’s most stringent anti-COVID-19 border barriers.
“This is great news for families, companies, and migratory communities.” It also gives assurance and adequate preparation time for airlines and cruise lines considering a return to New Zealand during the peak spring and summer seasons,” she said.
In certain sectors, the controls dating back to March 2020 have been lauded as world-leading, with New Zealand having one of the lowest coronavirus fatality rates among wealthy nations. However, detractors have accused the system of being rigid and uncaring, as well as stifling the economy.
International students have been keen to return to New Zealand since the country implemented a strict zero-COVID policy that prohibited most foreigners from entering the country. A series of incidents, including the Delta outbreak last summer and the Omicron variant, delayed its reopening plans. The administration earlier stated that up to 5,000 international students might return for semester 2 beginning April 12, 2022, and that all visa categories, including visitor and student visas, will reopen in October 2022.
Students who apply for visas in October will be able to study in New Zealand in 2023. The reopening of the New Zealand border in August would be a welcome relief for many students who are currently detained offshore. Universities New Zealand chief executive Chris Whelan previously told Study International that the country’s border reopening has caused “quite a high level of frustration” among students and universities.
“Obviously, we’re extremely happy to be reopening our borders; we just wish it was a lot quicker,” he remarked. Universities New Zealand is the national governing body for universities in New Zealand.
He also stated that many students who were stranded abroad were eager to return to the country as soon as possible.
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