After COVID-19, everything has changed. Jobs, studies, prospects are just one of the few things that have been affected by the Coronavirus. Though some countries have been able to curtail its spread, the fear of relapse always remains.
Students are the worst affected as their entire year gets hampered. Despite this, many countries are trying their best to restart the study plans. One among them is New Zealand who may probably give international students a chance to resume their studies.
New Zealand’s Attempts
Quality Tertiary Institutions has requested Immigration New Zealand to start issuing new visas to students for online studies. Even if students are resuming their classes online, the authority will give them post-study work rights.
They have mentioned the measures in the pre-election manifesto. NZ Government wants to restore the education sector to normalcy during these traumatic times.
QTI director Tommy Honey said in his statement that they would have to allow providers to train, recruit, and enroll international students. Once they open the borders, these students should be able to join and complete their studies.
The country believes that New Zealand is missing out on harnessing the potential of international students due to the current situation. Some countries have already started taking the first steps to invite international students, and New Zealand does not want to be left behind.
QTI is a representative of the private tertiary providers in New Zealand. Initially, the Kiwis have been able to control the spread of the virus. But, this was possible because of the freezing of temporary visas issuance.
The following are some suggestions offered by QTI to make the process simple for students:
- Immigration New Zealand would immediately start issuing new visas to students
- Providers were permitted to take online classes for international students in 2020 to get an extension until 2021.
- Students whose enrolment was supposed to start in 2021 will get customary post-study work rights. This is irrespective of whether they complete a part of the year or their first year through online methods. The work rights offered will be up to a maximum of 50% of their workload.
- In Auckland, the post-study work rights will be adjusted just like the rest of the country.
- Expansion of criteria for student pathways visas is next in line. The aim will be to allow maximum providers in the same category. Providers will now be able to participate in pathways programs that end in diploma or degree study.
Read More: Best Cities to Study in New Zealand
No New Student Visas to Be Issued
However, the NZ government is not expecting international students to join before next year. Since the country is suspended all Visa activities till 10th November 2020, the international students will have to wait.
But, international students who have a valid student visa can complete their studies remotely. INZ mentions that if a student’s “first entry before” date on Visa has expired, you cannot travel to New Zealand with that Visa.
Once the border re-opens, you should apply for a new visa. A new student visa will be issued, the basis on which the student will make further travel plans.
In case a student wants to cancel or postpone the study program, he can withdraw his application. The student will get a refund on the application fee once they have checked the paperwork.
Apart from that, an international student from NZ universities may apply for work visas for up to 3 years. But some conditions need to be fulfilled. A student should have studied a certificate or diploma for at least 60 weeks. Those who have completed a higher course for 30 weeks can also qualify under this category.
The international student education industry is nearly NZ $5 billion to the economy. The country has already committed to spending $51.6 million to bring back things on track.
Honey says that they are not going to fight to open the borders. The only thing they are trying to do here is to take simple steps, which might bring back the industry to normalcy. He mentions that Universities, polytechnics, and private institutions have all been affected by the onslaught of COVID-19.
Earlier in August, Auckland mayor Phil Goff had made elaborate plans to bring back 1200 international students. However, the efforts would fructify for the next study year only. Goff has submitted a plan to the government ministers to get some assistance in this regard.
He plans to bring back all those Auckland University students who enrolled in full-time courses. The essential point is that the students should have tested Corona negative before travelling. Upon arrival, the students would be promptly checked and transferred to secrecy.
The UniLodge Whitaker Hostel would be where the students will reside. The capacity of the hostel is 1200 students. However, students will be allowed only in batches of 300n students at one time. Students would get exclusive studio rooms, so they do not have to share bathrooms and dining areas with others.
Every student will get an initial starter pack of supplies. Later on, they can order takeaways to their rooms. Round the clock security and health check-ups by the nurses would ensure that no infection spreads.
Despite that, if a student does get affected, he will be shifted to a quarantine facility. However, Goff reiterated that all these plans would be fully implemented only by the start of the next year. Auckland University also stated that it worked in tandem with the Government to bring back international students.
Read More: New Zealand Pathway Student Visa Pilot
As is evident, New Zealand does not want its education industry to suffer. Every academic year many students from around the world visit NZ to complete their educational pursuits. The spreading of the corona has deferred their plans for this year, at least.
Just like other countries, NZ does not want to sit idle and waste a crucial year. They are all set to accommodate students through online classes with hopes that they will return next year when everything is normal. Hoping their efforts bear fruits and students can restart their academic life like before.