The five-stage border opening plan announced by New Zealand has been hailed as a “good milestone” for foreign education, with normal student visa procedures due to restart in October 2022.
The plan specifies that up to 5,000 overseas students will be allowed to enter the country under a border exception class beginning in April.
According to Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao, the resumption of normal visa procedures will allow international students to enrol for study in New Zealand in 2023. The border will be opened first to New Zealanders from Australia on February 27, followed by nations from the rest of the world on March 13.
“By the time we start to reopen our border, we’ll be one of the most vaccinated and most boosted countries in the world and the Covid-19 Protection Framework will be well established in helping to manage Covid outbreaks,” Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.
The 5,000 spots for overseas students starting semester two are included in the third step, which begins on April 12. During the pandemic, the government has allowed some overseas students to enter the country, with border restriction classes in 2021 and 2020.
According to ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson, the measures allow the foreign education industry to gradually open through 2022 for existing cohorts, with a new considerably larger cohort eligible to enter New Zealand for study before semester two.
Further information about the incoming student cohort will be chosen by the ministers of Education and Immigration and communicated in due time.
According to Universities New Zealand, the statement gave much-needed assurance for universities and their present and potential overseas students who had been waiting patiently abroad for so long.
“We value the certainty that comes from the announcement borders will be fully reopened to international students from October. It will mean Aotearoa New Zealand universities will be fully open to them again in time for the start of the academic year in 2023,” the peak body’s chief executive, Chris Whelan, said.
Initially, it was claimed that students and stakeholders were concerned about the uncertainties surrounding visa processing and the reopening of the border. This limited reopening for 5,000 international students on April 13 indicates that at least some universities and higher education students will be able to arrive onshore in time for the start of the second semester.
Despite the fact that it is only a small part of the total number of people clamouring to enter the nation. Scholars from visa-free nations such as Japan and South Korea may also enter New Zealand for up to three months beginning in July.
The administration has shown its compliance with international schools and educational institutions in 2023, with normal visa processing resumed in October 2022. This shows that foreign students can plan to study in New Zealand beginning in 2023. But it has been a difficult time for New Zealand academic institutions, international students, and those who aid them.
The industry has been patient as the borders were carefully controlled to deal with the threat presented by Covid-19. The declaration is an opportunity to restructure and reshape the sector in order to tackle the problems and obstacles. Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have all completely reopened to international students, but New Zealand will not be until October, in time for 2023, putting a year or more behind the competitors.
The international office director at the University of Otago, Jason Cushen, recently informed the Otago Daily Times that the institution, which had 3,000 international students before the pandemic, had gotten permission for 148 students to return to the country since 2020.
Universities New Zealand anticipated in early 2021 that 10,000 overseas students would be the “best case” for the country’s campuses that year. Stakeholders have already cautioned that the country’s border reopening plan will harm New Zealand’s education providers.
The country’s education providers will continue to incorporate the “innovation and diversification” into online learning and course delivery from outside that they demonstrated during the pandemic into the country’s portfolio in the future, McPherson said.