Education New Zealand recently informed agencies that there are still some spots available among the 5,000 international students who will be permitted to enter the country prior to its full reopening. The students will be considered as part of a border exception class and will be allowed to enter the country this summer.
Places are still available for students at some select English language schools and Private Training Establishments, according to Education New Zealand. It was announced in February that of the 5,000 international students allowed into the country, 1,000 would be assigned to English language schools and 850 to PTEs.
“Only education providers can nominate students for this cohort,” Education New Zealand said in its update. “Interested international students or their agents should contact ELS (English language schools) or PTEs as soon as possible.”
They have two weeks after being nominated by their education provider and confirmed by government education officials to log a request for travel through the Immigration New Zealand website. After this is approved, students have one month to complete and submit a student visa application. This is to ensure that they have enough time to begin their studies in the middle of the year.
Nominations for educational providers must be submitted by May 6, 2022. If any unused spaces remain after this date, they will be transferred to other providers. Universities currently have a capacity of 1,450 students; schools have a capacity of 1,000 students shared with English language schools, and Te Pkenga (formerly Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics) has a capacity of 700 students. Agencies should contact English New Zealand if they have questions about English language schools. As a point of contact, a list of PTEs has also been provided.
For nearly two years, international students have been eager to return to New Zealand after the country imposed a strict zero-COVID policy that barred foreigners from entering the country. A series of events, including the Delta outbreak last summer and the Omicron variant, slowed its reopening plans. As a result, international students have been subjected to a period of uncertainty and have repeatedly requested more clarity on their eventual return. Their response came in the form of a February announcement that international students would be able to fully return to New Zealand in October.
Meanwhile, 5,000 international students would be granted a travel exception, allowing them to enter the country in time for the beginning of their second semester. From July 2022, fully vaccinated Australians and all other visa-free visitors to New Zealand will be able to enter the country. All other visa categories, including visitor and student visas, are set to open in October.
Education New Zealand experts were pleased with the news. “This will mean at least some international university students will be able to make it onshore for the start of semester two, although only a small proportion of the number we know is clamoring to get here,” said Chris Whelan, chief executive of Universities New Zealand. Moreover, he warned that the late reopening would put New Zealand in a league of its own with other competing countries.
“Australia, the US, UK, and Canada are now all fully reopened to international students, but New Zealand won’t be until October, in time for 2023, leaving us a year or more behind those competitor countries,” he explained. He further expressed hope that the allocation of 5,000 places could be increased “so we do not lose students to our competitors”.
New Zealand is rapidly rising through the educational ranks. It is home to several world-class universities, including the University of Auckland, which is ranked as one of the top 150 higher education institutions in the world. PhD students are also entitled to a number of benefits. Receiving the domestic tuition fee rate; open work visas granted to family members; unlimited work hours, and a three-year post-study work visa upon completion of their research are among these benefits.
The friendliness of New Zealanders toward immigrants is perhaps the most appealing draw. They are known in particular for being open-minded and welcoming of other nationalities and cultures, which is not always evident in other higher education nations.
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