The Ministry of Education has released the eligibility criteria for international students who will be allowed back into the country in 2021.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced on Thursday, January 14 that the government will allow 1000 international students to enter the country from April as part of the recovery plan for international education.

Following the announcement, the Indian Weekender has followed up with the Ministry of Education seeking further clarity on the eligibility criteria for international students that would be allowed back into the country.

Responding to the Indian Weekender’s query, Vic Johns, Tumuaki Tuarua (acting), Te Ara Kaimanawa, an official spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said, “The border exception announced by Minister Hipkins on January 14 2021, applies to 1,000 returning international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began.”

To be eligible for this border exception, students must

  • hold, or have held a visa to study in 2020.
  • be studying towards a bachelor’s degree level or above qualification.
  • have studied in New Zealand in 2019, or 2020 toward their current qualification.
  • be returning to study with their current provider.
  • need to be in-country to complete their study.

“Priority will be given to students who are closest to graduation,” Vic Johns said.

Update: Total number of international students stuck overseas

Earlier last year Immigration New Zealand has told the Indian Weekender that as of August 23, 2020, about 5182 international students (holding valid international student visa) were stuck outside NZ borders.

INZ had then told the Indian Weekender that of those 5182, holding valid international student visas, 2247 visas were going to lapse by the end of 2020.

Given that INZ is not processing any international student visas from overseas, it is absolutely clear that these official figures would have remained unchanged, thereby leaving 2935 international students stuck overseas.

Of these figures, the government’s latest decision gives a relief to 1000, thereby leaving another 1935 student visa holders still stuck overseas.