After months of restricting international students from entering the country since the pandemic, the government of New Zealand has announced granting permission to 1,000 select international students to arrive starting from the middle of 2022.
As per media reports, the border class exception will be allowing 400 pilot trainees, 300 degree-level and above students, and 300 sub-degree level students to enter the countries. The universities and education providers will be nominating students, starting October this year.
The plan aims to allow selected students to begin their visa processes in January 2022, where the first cohort of students will enter New Zealand from March. However, these selected students will be asked to satisfy certain criteria before entering the country.
The plan calls for the selected returning students to be fully vaccinated by one of the three currently-approved vaccinations in New Zealand. The three include Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen and Oxford AstraZeneca. Nonetheless, New Zealand will also be accepting 23 vaccines that have been approved by countries abroad, including those approved by the Indian and Chinese governments as well.
In a statement released by Brett Berquist, the University of Auckland’s Director International stated that the university will be working with the government to develop a process to nominate students and will, further, connect with the eligible students. Berquist also pointed out that the selected international students will be entering NZ through the MIQ system, i.e. Managed Isolation and Quarantine.
Previously, an exception class of 1,000 international tertiary students were allowed to enter, while before that, 250 PhD and Masters students. The University of Canterbury in Christchurch hosted 34 returning international students in August.
On October 22, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a new traffic light system designed to manage outbreaks and cases while also making use of the vaccine certificates.
Displaying their satisfaction with the decision, a spokesperson for Education New Zealand, commented that the move will allow a connection with international students and markets, providing a pipeline for local providers while also highlighting the government’s commitment to the international education sector.
They further added that the move has been made as part of the NZ government’s Recovery Plan, therefore, students arriving in the country will be required to stick to all COVID-19 health and safety requirements.
Education New Zealand further commented that while expectations are to see a positive response, it is still too early to speculate the outcome. They urged the students to reach out to their preferred education provider or agent as soon as possible.
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They added that the students will be assisted through all the processes by their providers. As per current travel rules, students must complete the necessary immigration processes such as applying for a student visa before being able to start their studies in the countries.
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