1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began, will be allowed back in to finish their studies

1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began, will be allowed back in to finish their studies
Photo by Haneen Krimly on Unsplash

The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began.

The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021.

The students will return to New Zealand in phases, beginning with a cohort of 300 that will be able to return from April, with the remaining students returning throughout the year as MIQ availability allows. 

The return of these students will not affect the ability of Kiwis to return home and it is balanced against the requirement for skilled workers to enter the country.

They will be subject to the same border rules and quarantine regime as all other arrivals – with any additional restrictions depending on where they come from.  

“They will need to book their space through the allocation system and will be billed the standard charges for managed isolation. They also need to be able to do more to support themselves in New Zealand, with the living expenses that are required for international students to be granted a visa now raised to $20,000 – up from $15,000," Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

Border exception details

Students with questions about this border exception should contact their providers.  The Ministry of Education will continue to work with tertiary education providers to manage this process.

To be eligible for this border exception, students must

  • hold, or have held a visa to study in 2020
  • be studying towards a bachelor’s degree level or above qualification
  • have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 toward their current qualification
  • be returning to study with their current provider
  • need to be in-country to complete their study.

Priority will be given to students who are closest to graduation.

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52 Comments

This of course is a drop in the bucket compared to a normal academic year of tens of thousands of international students. But may be a signal of some opening up.
Last year there were a few hundred PhD students permitted in after lockdown as well.
There are a number of Auckland central PTEs and Polytech mini-campuses closing or likely to close as a result of closed borders to new Internationals.

I doubt PTEs and polytecs will benefit from these exception as very few international students enroll with these for multi-year programmes.

Although the conditions don't stipulate that per se, the majority of existing students away from NZ during the first lockdown were bachelors, masters or doctoral students and will be prioritised by universities.

That’s true.
However the financial impact of the stopped flow is only just beginning to be fully felt as students who started in Feb 2020 and before were still in the system throughout 2020. Now there are no new enrolments.

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It is good to see these 3rd tier institutes close. They offer near worthless degrees and many students use this as a platform to start a NZ residence application. A good friend who runs a grass cutting/landscaping business is approached most months by 'students' who have IT 'degrees' wanting sponsorship/work to support residence applications. Bloody scam.

Perhaps. But NZQA approve all their qualifications which probably look ok on paper.
And the Universities are not blameless as they run many Postgrad qualifications purely for the purpose of recruiting international students with minimal support/demand from industry.
Virtually all tertiary institutions and some schools are dependent on international fees to stay financially solvent.

Do we have enough rooms in our isolation facilities?

Well, at least at Auckland they have built quite a lot of accommodation in the last 12 months so with foreign new entrants not coming in perhaps there will be capacity in those facilities.

300/day MIQ capacity vs 1000 students spread over months. Won't help of course, but equally won't make a lot of difference.

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Bottle store owners demanding the return of their cheap/free labour ?

Of course that's low-paid work has been built into students supporting themselves.
How else does one survive on 20k for a year in Auckland or Wellington? What's $385 a week supposed to get you other than overcrowded, mouldy homes and instant noodles for every meal?

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Advisor...sharing a $385 PW mouldy home with 3 others and eating instant noodles is paradise compared to sharing a Mumbai or Manilla slum made from corrugated iron where your room is often knee high in water during rainy season, 40 celcius in the hot season and your toilet is the street outside.
Of course so many want to study (and then) work here regardless of our working and housing conditions. And after residency is achieved most will try as hard as possible to help as many of their relatives (and even friends and paying customers masquerading as family, with easily obtained forged documents) migrate to NZ (under the family reunification visa) even if it means working in a liquor store for 16 hours a day at $7 an hour.

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What does that say about us as a country when we allow bottle shops, fast food joints and cleaning companies to hire international graduates from our "esteemed institutions" or sponsor others on 'essential skill' visas.

All it takes for these migrants to stay here permanently as skilled migrants is proving that they earn just a cent per hour above our median wage (minimum plus $6.5).

I know bashing international students is very popular in these comments, but very few of the students in this tranche will be working in low skilled jobs of that sort.

Absolute rubbish have a look at any entry level job (Spark, BP, Phone repair stores, AT etc.) in Auckland and tell me there are very few international students working in them.

Those choosing to pay 20-25k a year to study business diplomas at PTEs with zero international recognition aren't exactly aiming for top corporate jobs. Look no further than the dip in residency applications back in 2016 when the Key government announced wage thresholds of a meager $22/hour or so.

*in this tranche*.

degree level and above. minimum demonstrated support of 20k/year. they either are working but have better options than the bottle shop, or of means such that working while studying is not required.

Lots going on with PTEs, but that's a separate conversation.

If they are immigrant students of whatever level of quals they'll still be working low end "bottle store" type jobs - they're students.. not graduates

Bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him

realterms.. and what makes you come to this strange conclusion?

see reply above.

Seems a bit of a contradiction when you read that the voucher system is booked solid till at least end of March, essential tech workers are having difficulty finding space and Hipkins reckons the extra 1000 or so over the year won't make any impact? Or is he expecting we'll close the borders to some of the non student supplying nations to cater for the students?

MIQ capacity is still about 300/day I presume. So 1000 spread over months isn't going to make much difference. It also remains to be seen how much the negative day 0 test requirement dampens demand. Not a lot, I imagine, but then the numbers we're talking about here aren't a lot either.

realterms.. it may not make much difference to MIQ but more importantly will it make a difference to pollution, water shortage, housing shortage and unemployment/underemployment?

Only talking about MIQ and the border closure situation. Immigration policy is a separate matter -- I don't necessarily disagree on that front.

The point I was trying to make was.. if NZ can fit in students, why can't it fit in the numerous NZ citizens still trying to get home. Hipkins saying it won't effect capacity seems a bit bogus. Ohhh.. just noticed - "increased student numbers expected to contribute 49 million" who said money don't talk..

I'd say you're 100% correct. My point was just the scale of the numbers.

When, btw, does anyone on this board claim that money doesn't talk?

is it "spread over months" if presumably they all want to come back and commence studying at the start of the same semester?

the second and third sentences in the article:

The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021.

The students will return to New Zealand in phases, beginning with a cohort of 300 that will be able to return from April, with the remaining students returning throughout the year as MIQ availability allows.

Its is a rout
This wine blogger from UK got in just before xmas. Most likely replace a kiwi who missed out.
Essential I don't think so.
Don't think NZ wine industry will collapse if this guy is not blogging.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CJZJjxoLgFG/

This is a risk government are willing to take? You could understand if it was a citizen or permanent resident because the country has an obligation to those people but if it came out that transmission occured due to a foreign student who could easily have delayed travel by a semester or two...

Interesting, isn't it?

I think the answer is in the delay. This is starting (slowly) in April, alongside vaccinations.

ofcourse, can't let the (apparent) supply issue be rectified.

gotta ship some people in to ensure it's never, ever solved.

Also, stuff anyone who needs those MIQ spots to go to the funeral of a dead relative.
Need to ship in these foreign students, who pay to get waved through their degrees despite most being semi-literate, in order to supplement Professors' ivory tower salaries.

Is it just me, or is anyone else getting sick and tired and pretty much disillusioned with the constant examples of so called professionals dropping the ball? Latest one being the teenager who went missing in/around Piha and 10 months later the Police decide to have a closer look - wtf is wrong with our establishment?? Maybe time to just shrug your shoulders and say "F24k it.. not my problem.. who cares?". Correction Minister - "not heard of any problems at Waikeria"... Finance Minister " The RBNZ must maintain it's impartiality and independence".. Children and Young Persons Minister - I have full confidence in the CEO of OT" Covid Response Minister "all incoming passengers will be required to have a -ve test but I think 1000 students can easily be accommodated" Bridges jibberjabbering on about Free Speech on Twitter. When did the actual rot start and why didn't we see it? Or did we see it and just ignore it?

It must be hard having all the answers but no way of implementing them mate :)

so 1000 came back its worth a few million at best-- - remind me how much have we borrowed because of the first lockdown ..........

mental -- we should be closing it tighter than a drum -

yea but some of them are bringing family money for houses, so, it's all good.

Ok, as long as it's not the thin end of the wedge; the thick end of the wedge being the Queen street campuses and other de facto immigration facilitators that masquerade as English language schools.
And at the moment we should be slamming the door shut on anybody from the UK or USA, including NZers who have already had nearly a year to come back but have chosen to stay in these basket-case countries and not taken into account that there could be more waves that are more virulent.

So how come Brazil (infection out of control), South Africa (new mutation), Central African countries (new variant in Nigeria), Russia (unknown contagion level), China (expanding infection count of new variant), EU (poorly managed response and close proximity to UK) don't make your list?
Maybe it's time to just say - "Fu@# it, vaccinate those who we can, let the rest fend for themselves" and every man/woman/child for themselves?
Maybe this could be (and should be) the Great Cleansing. Make the Black Plague look like a sniffle??

"Ok, as long as it's not the thin end of the wedge; the thick end of the wedge being the Queen street campuses and other de facto immigration facilitators that masquerade as English language schools."

Yes I'm pretty sure it's the thin end of the wedge.

Stupid and dangerous. It's at least a year away before an informed decision could be made on this one.

I hope this will see the end of the scam like "Nigerian Princeton Universities", selling hopes for residency and shonky qualifications and providing slave labour for liquor store and ethnic restaurants. We need zero of that from now on.

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IMO the biggest problem with the student visa is the pathway to residency part. We should welcome foreigners here to study as long as they can support themselves without working (maybe having 40K in a NZ bank for each year of study) but the pathway once study has ended should lead them right back to where they came from with only a tiny amount of exceptions. If this means some of them decide not to study here then fine.
The main (NZ) benefactors of our immigration settings are business owners, property investors and landlords (the haves) while the ones it hurts the most are renters and kiwis in, or looking for, low paid, unskilled work (the have nots) ensuring the gap will widen further.

Most potential international students would not study here unless there is a associated post study work visa available upon graduation.
The Universities, Polytechs, and PTEs are constantly developing new qualifications that meet the ever changing Govt/NZ Ed/Immigration qualifications criteria for eligibility for post study work visas. And dropping their previously offered qualifications if they no longer have an attached work visa.

Am I correct in believing that some study visas give permission for family to accompany and work in NZ? Is this the source for apparently foreign immigrants with poor language skills (a minority but significant).

Am I correct in believing that some study visas give permission for family to accompany and work in NZ? Is this the source for apparently foreign immigrants with poor language skills (a minority but significant).

Yes, certain postgrad programmes with a minimum certain duration.

Yes you are correct. The first one is the beach head and the numerous family members often follow regardless of whether they speak English or want to work. We are losing our country.

This seems sensible tbh. I’m no fan of the fake-education/labour exploitation rorts that have been going on, but it sounds like these places will be for legit students engaged in long-term research. People who have worked in academia will understand - students often end up working closely with their supervisor on a field of interest over the course of several years. It’s where a lot of the best research comes from. Knee-jerk anti-University types won’t believe it, but there’s every chance one of these students will be doing the work that leads to the next A2 milk or something.

I agree - they were given visas but just had the bad luck to be out of NZ when it mattered. Like wedding guests once their invitations have been given it would be rude and wrong to revoke them. Now is the time to stop those rorts and stop the exploitation - but then it has been the time for the last 20 years.

Lapun.. totally agree, I mean how many of these people returning to NZ and entering MIQ are NZ born? Let us see the statistics from Q4 to allow us to analyse the extent of our folly.

Why not have a dedicated facility at a military base? The government won't give priority above returning kiwis so this is barely even symbolic.

They should have to publish to MOH website for every one of these exemptions granted.
Country of Origin of the student. Number of accompanying spouse and Children, Institution of study, Course of Study they are resuming.