It has been announced that New Zealand’s government will allow 1000 students to enter the country as a recovery plan for international education. It will start in April.
Chris Hipkins, the education minister of New Zealand, said that the students are only eligible when they completed their graduation or post-graduation course. The students also have to pay the cost of their isolation.
The government is also getting influenced by the education provider to reopen the border to international students worth more than 5 billion dollars.
Hipkins said that the government would prioritize the students who are closest to completing their studies or qualifications.
He said, “The students will return to New Zealand in phases, beginning with a companion of 300 that will be to return from April, with the remaining students returning throughout the year as MIQ availability allows.”
He also said that the student could return to their home, which will not affect the kiwis’ ability. It will also help to balance against the needed skilled workers to enter the country. He also states that the one who will enter the country had to follow the same border rules and quarantine rules that the government had authorized. Additional restrictions are also there. It depends on the individual where he is coming from.
Hipkins also mentioned in his statement that the government’s priority would be the country’s well-being. They will look after the health as well as the safety of the people in New Zealand. He also said that it was responsible for balancing and support the economic recovery in New Zealand carefully.
He said that the border exception would deliver on the part of the recovery plan for international education. It also emphasizes the government commitment to the global education sector, which is essential in its long-term security and recovery on the economy from Covid-19.
Hipkins also said that the students need to occupy their seats or space through the allocation system and would be billed the standard charges for managed isolation.
He also said that they also need to do more to support themselves in New Zealand, with the living expenses required for international students to be granted a visa now to twenty thousand dollars to fifteen thousand dollars.
Universities welcome announcement
On Thursday, education minister Chris Hipkins announced that 300 students could enter in April and the other 700 as MIQ availability allows.
Universities across New Zealand have been struggling due to international students’ loss, following March last year’s border closure. Several institutions have been considering redundancies as a result of financial loss. International students have voiced concerns about losing scholarships and program places.
While a thousand students are a small drop in the bucket than the thirty-four thousand international students enrolled in tertiary education in 2019, it was estimated that those returning would pour forty-nine million dollars into the economy.
Reaction of Universities
Victoria university acting vice-chancellor Rawinia Higgins welcomed the announcement.
“The university will work with the ministry of education, Immigration New Zealand, and other agencies to manage this process, which will see some wellington students able to return to study on campus this year.
Deputy Director of international offices of Auckland University, Ainslie Moore, said given the number of students who remained offshore. Thousand may seem like a small number.
“But for each student, the opportunity to return is huge.”
The international relations director of Canterbury University, Tracey Wilson, said students had been severely affected by the border closure, and she was delighted a small number would return to campus.
International relations director, Jason Cushen of Otago University, welcomed the news, saying he would work with the ministry of education and immigration New Zealand to manage the students’ return.
While Deputy vice-chancellor Tere Mcgonagle-Daly of Massey University was pleased with the announcement, he also said that the conditions were limiting, specifically prioritizing students closest to graduation.
“All our international students are important, and we need to provide all of them with assurance.”
Chief executive Grant Mcpherson said international education had wide-ranging benefits for New Zealand.
He also said that International education contributed about five billion dollars to the economy and supported around forty-five thousand jobs before the onset of covid-19
In last year, in October, the New Zealand government allowed two hundred and fifty Ph.D. students to return to New Zealand.
Waikato University has alerted staff to get ready for losses of job.
Staff at Waikato University received an email from vice-chancellor Neil Quigley on Wednesday morning, which stuff has seen, outlining that the measures the university has already put in place to reduce costs have not been “sufficient to achieve a sustainable outcome.”
The university previously stated only fixed-term contracts would not be renewed but is now looking at retiring staff, reducing hours, and leave without pay and voluntary redundancies to reduce its deficit.
Tertiary Education Union organizer Shane Vulgar said the university’s jump to job cuts was pre-emptive, with little financial information to justify it. He said it had come to a shock for many permanent staff members who thought their positions were safe from the cull.
“ We will be taking an approach that is carefully considered and as nuanced as possible in the circumstances,” Quigley assured stuff.
He said that with a clearer understanding of the borders not reopening to international students until June 2021, no new international students entering the system, and no government insight, the universities’ income in 2021 would fall substantially below that in 2020, and costs will continue to increase.
“ Having now seen the initial projections for the 2021 budget, I do not believe that the measures we have already put in place-restrictions on capital expenditure, non-renewal of fixed terms positions, and restrictions on travel and accumulation of annual leave.”