The government has removed border restrictions for 1000 international students to return to New Zealand to continue their tertiary studies as part of the government’s “recovery plan for international education”.
This exemption applies to students who had begun their study in New Zealand but were offshore when border restrictions were put in place due to Covid-19.
The students would be allowed to return in stages, with 300 starting from April. Remaining will keep coming during rest of the year and their numbers would depend upon availability of managed isolation facilities. Students would have to pay for their managed isolation.
Making this announcement today, the Education Minister, Chris Hipkins said “The students will return to New Zealand in phases, beginning with a cohort of 300 that will be able to return from April, with the remaining students returning throughout the year as MIQ availability allows.
“The return of these students will not affect the ability of Kiwis to return home and it is balanced against the requirement for skilled workers to enter the country.”
To qualify for the exemption, students must be studying at a Bachelor’s degree level or above, hold a visa to study in 2020, have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 and be returning to study with their current tertiary provider.
“The annual economic value of this group of 1000 degree-level international students is estimated to be roughly $49 million in wider economic contribution, including approximately $27 million in tuition fees,” Hipkins said.
Apart from the stipulated $15,000 required for international students to be granted a visa, the students must also have an additional $5000 of living costs to support themselves here.
Last year, the government granted an exemption for 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand.