First Cohort of International Students Preparing to Return to New Zealand

After the decision of New Zealand’s government on new borders exceptions announced last month, the first group of international students is preparing to return to the country.

According to Universities New Zealand (UNZ) representing eight universities in the country, a total of 194 eligible students have already been contacted and will soon start their visa procedures, Erudera College News reports.

Moreover, UNZ also announced that students who will be allowed to travel are nationals of:

  • China
  • France
  • India
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States
  • Vietnam

Nevertheless, it will still take another four weeks to find out whether all these students are able to travel to New Zealand.

In order to be able to return to New Zealand, students should possess a visa, be enrolled at a university in 2020 and who cannot complete their studies unless they are in the country. In addition, their research also needs to focus on one of the following fields:

  • Medicine
  • Veterinary
  • Engineering
  • Laboratory sciences

Last month, New Zealand’s government announced the latest set of border exceptions which would shortly allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to return and continue their studies.

As per border exceptions, the Education Minister Chris Hipkins in a statement had said that the exception shows the recognition of the important role that education plays in rebuilding the country as well as the need to continue fighting the Corona pandemic.

“It will enable us to welcome back a good portion of those PhD and Masters students who are caught off-shore, and who need to be in New Zealand to complete their work. These are students who hold or held a visa for 2020, and whose long-term commitment to study here was disrupted by COVID-19,” he said.

All students who return to New Zealand, same as every other returnee, will be tested for COVID-19 and are obliged to respect New Zealand’s law during Corona pandemic and self-isolate for 14-days.

As per expenses, the government did not specify who will pay the costs of flights and isolation costs at hotels. Regarding this, the New Zealand International Students’ Association said they want to make sure that institutions are supporting students and suggested universities pay a part of the costs.

“It would be a really good investment if institutions can consider bearing some of that cost and following up on a cost-sharing model, so that international students coming back in have that financial pressure alleviated”, The association’s president Sabrina Alhady, told Radio New Zealand (RNZ).

In 2018, a total of 117,276 international students were enrolled at New Zealand’s higher education institutions, marking a 6 per cent drop from 2017.

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