AUCKLAND, 14 Jan 2021:
The New Zealand government today announced that, from April, it will allow the staggered entry of 1,000 international university students who were stuck outside the country when the borders closed in March 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This border exception delivers on a part of the recovery plan for international education. It underscores the government’s commitment to the international education sector, which is important in the country’s long-term economic recovery from Covid-19,” education minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.
International students must currently hold, or held a visa to study in 2020, and be returning to the country to resume their studies with their current institution.
They will have to cover the costs of their mandatory 14-day quarantine in one of the managed isolation hotels.
“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,” Hipkins said.
In addition, the authorities raised the financial requirement for living expenses and the students will have to prove funds of NZ$20,000 – up from NZ$15,000.
“The government remains committed to working with the international education sector to ensure options for the broader return of international students continue to be considered, and that opportunities can be taken as and when it is safe and there is capacity to do so,” Hipkins said.
“The annual economic value of this group of 1,000 degree-level international students is estimated to be roughly NZ$49 million in wider economic contribution, including approximately NZ$27 million in tuition fees.”
New Zealand, the government of which has been internationally applauded for its management of its epidemic, has accumulated just 1,872 infections, including 25 deaths and with 65 active cases, all of them international arrivals in quarantine facilities. The last local infection was reported on Nov 18.