Immigration New Zealand has stopped processing visa applications for all non-residents until further notice due to border restraints.
According to an announcement published on the official website of New Zealand Immigration, the latest decision will affect both students, new and existing ones, compared to the previous verdict that granted two special permissions for students, Erudera.com informs.
Previously, the government permitted 250 Ph.D. and postgraduate students and another 1,000 bachelor and postgraduate students to apply for their visas to enter or stay in New Zealand.
The eligible students were required to be nominated by their education provider and the ministry of education to enter New Zealand territory.
“INZ is not processing any applications from students who are outside of New Zealand. The students should not put time and effort into updating documents at this point,” the announcement advises.
The announcement further reads that visa processing and risk verification operations are being withdrawn from Mumbai, Manila, and Pretoria by the end of the month, to be closed entirely until the end of August.
“The New Delhi Office will continue with risk and verification. Visa processing will also be withdrawn from our Beijing office. The exact date is to be determined. Beijing will retain risk and verification functions,” INZ stated in the announcement.
The director of Global, representing New Zealand universities in South Asia, Ravi Lochan Singh, confessed he is disappointed with the decision, saying that the NZ government is “derailing the goodwill created on the back of great work the country had done in containing the virus.”
International students can attend classes remotely, with a chance of being automatically granted a visa student once the applications recommence. Still, such criteria do not apply for the post-study work (PSW) visa program, which requires 30 weeks of full-time study in the country for a student to qualify for one.
For students that had previously studied in New Zealand but were not within the country when the border closed, they cannot apply for the PSW visas for the time being.
Based on INZ’s announcement, this had to happen “because of the border restrictions and the offshore visa suspension which is in place to support the border restrictions.”
The Pathway Student Visa (PSV) program, which made it possible for international students to access up to three study programs on a single visa, has also been deferred.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, INZ cannot implement its plan to make the visa category permanent for 2021, and this action can only happen until “some time after the border has opened.”
According to Navitas’s latest study, New Zealand is one of the safest study destinations for the year, with 75 percent of the respondents rating New Zealand as a safe and stable study destination. Still, the country ranked four out of five for openness and hospitality in terms of studying.