Immigration New Zealand should immediately re-start issuing student visas, and new international students should qualify for normal post-study work rights even if they initially study online and offshore, according to an organisation representing private tertiary providers in New Zealand.
In its 2020 pre-election manifesto, Quality Tertiary Institutions has said that urgent government measures are needed to keep New Zealand’s international education sector alive and functioning, and that the move would encourage more students to enrol with New Zealand education providers while the borders remained closed.
The international education industry is worth NZ$5 billion to the economy, however earlier in 2020, the country’s finance minister Grant Robertson said international students are unlikely to return to New Zealand this year.
International students could get a New Zealand work visa for up to three years if they had studied a certificate or diploma for 60 weeks, or a degree or higher qualification for at least 30 weeks – but only if they studied in the country
“This is hugely important to be able to protect the pipeline of international students, for when students can return to New Zealand. Some of our competitor countries are doing it, and if we don’t New Zealand risks missing out.”