Some international students will be allowed to return to New Zealand, from next month, education minister Chris Hipkins announced on Monday.
International PhD and postgraduate students will be allowed to enter New Zealand, after almost a full academic year of being locked out, the Minister of Education has announced
Chris Hipkins said 250 PhD and postgraduate students will be allowed to enter New Zealand, with the first likely to arrive in November this year.
“The exception today is a balanced decision that recognises the vital role international education will play in the recovery and rebuild of New Zealand and the need to continue the fight against the pandemic,” Hipkins said.
“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.”
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Priority will be given to students who need to be in the country for the practical components of their research.
“The number of international students we are granting exceptions for is a very small proportion compared to the numbers we are used to.
“I acknowledge that other international education providers, such as schools and Private Training Establishments, will be disappointed that their students are not a part of this border exception group.”
All students entering New Zealand would have to follow Covid-19 restrictions, including 14-day quarantine upon arrival, which the students would pay for. Their arrival also depended on availability of space in managed isolation facilities.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority,” Hipkins said.
The Tertiary Education Union welcomed the move, president Sandra Grey said.
”Our institutions now have a clear signal that international students will be coming back, that means they can more confidently ride out the current dip in revenue using their significant reserves. There is no need for job cuts.”
But, she said the border closure had shown the international education system in New Zealand was broken, and highlighted wider problems with funding for universities, wānanga, and polytechnics.