The new plan, which was released on August 16, made a few changes to the draft strategy that was released earlier this year. The strategy consultations concluded on June 24.
Since the final document was released, ENZ has reported that New Zealand’s education providers’ fees from international students fell by $250 million in 2020, compared to 2019, when international students contributed $1.2 billion in fees, and by $610 million in 2021.
According to Immigration New Zealand, when borders were fully opened on July 31, there were only 14,639 international students with valid study visas in New Zealand; fees in 2022 are expected to be even lower.
In December 2021, the government predicted that the sector would have fewer than 20,000 international students, down from 125,000 in 2018, but admitted that student numbers for 2022 were “uncertain.”
Following sector consultations, the government clarified in the updated strategy that it “does not expect smaller providers to diversify to the same extent as larger providers, or into areas outside their core purpose.”
In order to help providers “give more accurate information to students,” Immigration New Zealand will share up-to-date information on visa processing times and what good applications look like.
“As we work to rebuild international education, immigration will be an important factor,” the updated strategy stated.
It also recognises that, because international education intersects with a variety of government portfolios, government agencies must collaborate with the sector to implement the strategy.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, along with Immigration New Zealand, has been assigned more roles in the final strategy than in the previous draft.
In addition, the Ministry of Education has pledged to “understand what it means to honour Te Tiriti in the provision of international education opportunities for domestic students.”
Agencies will track the effects of the Immigration Rebalance policy changes on student visas, and a monitoring framework will be put in place to “understand the onshore and offshore offerings that will build a high-value and diverse future for international education.”
Changes in immigration policies have affected post-study work rights, and international students must now have more money to support themselves while studying.
Higher education students will continue to have access to post-study work opportunities, whereas students completing qualifications at Level 7 and below will only be eligible if the qualification is relevant to 20 occupations on a ‘Green List.’ Construction, engineering, and education are among the jobs on the list.
Prospective tertiary student visa applicants will need $20,000 per year, up from $15,000 previously, and prospective international school students will need $17,000, though the length of studies may change the requirements.
According to the government, students must pay tuition for the first year or first programme of study, and they must demonstrate financial support for the same period, with some exceptions for aviation students.
Students transitioning to post-study work visas after May 11 will also need to show $5,000 in funds.
Finally, Education New Zealand will conduct an inventory of current international student services and support in order to identify any gaps that can be filled.
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