New border Exceptions for international students

An extra step towards a progressive reopening of New Zealand borders, 1000 students to be allowed back into the country to complete their studies

1,000 international students to be allowed into the country from March 2021

As the education sector, a $5 billion industry for New Zealand, is suffering from the restrictions imposed on foreign nationals entering the country, the government has announced it will allow 1,000 foreign students to enter from April. This is the second steps towards a recovery plan for international education, after an initial 250 students were allowed in late 2020.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the students must be part-way through a degree or postgraduate course and would have to pay for the cost quarantine, also known as Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ). The first cohort of 300 students is expected to be able to return from April. This phased approach is meant to help manage demand on MIQ facilities.

New Zealand education providers will identify and nominate eligible students. Students will not have to actively secure a place.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must hold or have held a valid visa to study in 2020 and have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 towards a current qualification and be returning to complete their study with their current provider. In other words eligible students will have already completed some of their study in New Zealand but were unable to return to New Zealand due to the COVID border restrictions.

They will be expected to apply for an be granted a new student visa in line with current immigration requirements, and they will need to prove that they have NZD$20,000 per annum to support themselves for the duration of their visa, in addition to the funds required for MIQ.

Partners and dependent children of nominated students are expected to be able to accompany the principal applicant (student).

We are hoping this is another good step towards a much wider reopening of borders throughout 2021.