International students are not exempted from the scourges of the world health crisis. Some international students currently studying in New Zealand got stranded abroad at the time of the lockdown. Now they face an uphill task of gaining access to the country to continue their studies. It will not be business as usual for these students, especially for those whose visas will be expiring this August.
Students with study visas in New Zealand are in danger of losing it due to the borders’ shutdown to every foreigner. This shutdown measure got implemented at the time the coronavirus first went global. During the commotion, which got affected by the pandemic, countries rushed to shut down their borders, and New Zealand was one of them. This also means that student visa applications got temporarily suspended. Based on a reliable source, more than 1700 international students studying in the country are currently stranded abroad. Due to expired visas, they are no longer eligible to re-enter the country. It is a fact that these students lost their visa statuses in August 2020.
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Out of 1700, there are holders of student visas from various categories. The categories are students studying the English language, exchange students from other countries. Others are students studying full-time, scholarship students, and pathway holders. It appears that lots of students got affected by the lockdown based on available information obtained from the country’s ministry of immigration.
The federal agency also reported that as of August 23, 2020, the number of international students stuck out of the country’s borders stood at 5,182. Out of these, about 1,704 run a risk of losing their visa validity when August runs out. Furthermore, the visas of 2,247 international students currently stuck abroad would expire at the end of 2020.
The number of international students currently stranded overseas includes students who have traveled to the country before. Those who plan to visit the country will also not be granted entry. Also, about 39,794 international students are present in the country; approximately 15,000 international students got granted student visas. They were 5,037 students that got granted visas in January. Then in February, another 5,367 got given tickets. In March 2020, a further 4,217 got their visa applications approved and got granted visas. Things went awry in March when all borders got shut down.
A period of uncertainty beclouds international students.
New Zealand’s Immigration department has suspended the application of temporary visas. This suspension affects students who are trying to get permits from outside of the country. This suspension is for about three months, and it takes effect from August 10, 2020. This new lockdown measure comes as authorities previously stated that it is not probable that international students will get into the country. This move is highly crucial because the country needs the right time to put in motion the necessary quarantine measures to contain the virus. The country officials are most concerned about the effects of the virus when the second wave begins due to globally relaxing lockdown measures.
Chris Hipkins, who is the Minister of Education, also reported that international students couldn’t get into the country this year because of the coronavirus’s presence abroad. The virus is still out there in the world, and the government runs a risk of opening up its borders without sufficient measures to contain the virus if it eventually hits the country again.
Despite this, international students with student visas already and are stuck out of the country can still study with their institution through online portals. Officials also warned that students would not get into the country if they had missed the “first entry before” period on their visas. It further went on to say that if the borders get re-opened and the students get their study plans re-verified, they cannot get into the country. They will have to hand in an application for another student visa before they get into the country.
Students may decide to nullify or defer their plans to study in the country. However, they will have to let their education providers know about their new projects. “Students whose visa applications were never processed will have to inform the immigration officials to get it withdrawn from the application process. Furthermore, students can request a refund. These demands for the full refunds of the visa application fees will get treated separately according to each case’s peculiarity.”
Students who do not have a foreign student visa from the country
The country’s immigration department commented on the possibilities of online learning. It said that students who are left out of the country’s borders are still able to study through their education provider’s online portal with their visas. The moment that the country’s border restriction is eased off, the students can show off proof of their online study. This evidence will get used as a necessary back up to support their subsequent visa application.
Furthermore, it is known that students who prefer the online study route in their native country will undoubtedly have to satisfy regular student visa demands. This will enable them to get visas to continue their studies in the school. Among these requirements includes the status of being a valid student of the school, having enough funds for their upkeep, as well as being in proper health and maintaining a good character.
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The global health crisis greatly impacted our lives in significant ways. One of such ways is the close of borders of different countries. This measure was necessary to curb the spread of the virus. However, international students are also affected by this trend.
International students studying in New Zealand have been to certain rigorous study routines to continue their studies. Furthermore, students whose visa will expire at the end of August are most affected. This means that they will need to apply for a new ticket to regain entry into the tiny oceanic country to continue their studies.