Despite being largely unaffected by the health effects of COVID-19, New Zealand has been very strict when it comes to containment measures such as closing of international borders in the early stages of the pandemic. With many other countries now allowing entry of international students again, New Zealand is following suit.
- International students, holding a border class exception, have been allowed to enter the country from February 13, 2022
- The normal visa processing will start from October 2022, allowing international students to enrol in New Zealand universities in 2023
- Despite travel restrictions, India holds the second position in terms of valid student visas at around 4,500 visas
Know If You Are Eligible To Travel To NZ
The country’s government has declared a three-step ‘Reconnecting NZ’ plan for travellers entering the country, which requires self-isolation instead of managed isolation and quarantine this year.
International students, holding a border class exception, have been allowed to enter the country from February 13, 2022. Though other fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed from April, the government is still in the process of finalising the details. Up to 5,000 international students will be able to enter from April 12.
Also, with the existing border arrangements in place, the offshore student visa applications will not be resumed as of now. However, this suspension might be lifted soon. Fresh visa applications can only be allowed from international students if they have been contacted by their universities to enter the country via a border exception class.
The Jacinda Ardern-led government approved a border class exception in November 2021 for 1,000 international students going for higher education including 400 pilot trainees; 300 students at degree level and above, and 300 students at the sub-degree level.
The normal visa processing will start from October 2022, allowing international students to enrol in New Zealand universities in 2023.
Why International Students Matter To NZ
Higher education is one of the key drivers of New Zealand’s economy, with international education being the fourth largest export industry. In 2017, international education contributed around $4.4 billion to the country’s economy.
According to a 2021 insight report by Education New Zealand, the total number of international student enrolments in the tertiary institutions dropped by 16% (from over 60,000 to around 50,000) from 2019 to 2020.
The administration plans to revive the sector by getting in more students. Online, offshore and hybrid learning have now become the norm since 2020. The data on the number of international students who enrolled in New Zealand universities but studied offshore shows this. This number increased substantially in 2020, by 145%.
Despite travel restrictions, India holds the second position in terms of valid student visas at around 4,500 visas.
Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington, and Waikato are the top regions when it comes to student visas granted until April 27, 2021 with Auckland being the most favoured destination as around 14,000 student visas were granted.
What Next For Eligible Students
- Inform your university about your willingness to study in New Zealand. Once you are connected with your institution, they will guide you about the nomination process.
- You do not have to apply for a visa with Immigration New Zealand unless you have a confirmed nomination by your university.
- The next step is to ensure you meet the criteria to be prepared to travel as per the travel checklist.