The new plan, released on August 16, made a handful of amendments to the draft strategy that was published earlier this year. The consultations on the strategy concluded on June 24.
Since the final document was released, ENZ has reported that New Zealand’s education providers’ fees from international students had dropped by $250 million in 2020, compared to 2019 when international students contributed $1.2 billion in fees, and $610m less in 2021.
Immigration New Zealand reported to RNZ that, when borders fully opened on July 31, there were just 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 could have fewer than 20,000 international students, compared to 125,000 students in 2018, but acknowledged that expected student numbers for 2022 were “uncertain”.
Following consultations with the sector, the government has clarified in the updated strategy that it does “not expect smaller providers to diversify to the same extent as larger ones, or into areas outside their core purpose”.
Immigration New Zealand will share up to date information on visa processing times, and on what good applications look like in order to help providers “give more accurate information to students”.
“Immigration will be an important factor as we work to build back international education,” the updated strategy noted.
It also acknowledges that, as international education intersects with a range of government portfolios, there is a need for government agencies to work together with the sector to implement the strategy.
“Immigration will be an important factor as we work to build back international education”
Along with Immigration New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has been allocated more roles in the final strategy than the previous draft.
The Ministry of Education has also made a commitment to “understand what it means to honour Te Tiriti in the provision on international education opportunities for domestic students”.
Agencies will monitor the impacts of the Immigration Rebalance policy changes on student visas, and a monitoring framework will be introduced to “understand the onshore and offshore offerings that will build a high-value and diversified future for international education”.
Changes to immigration settings have impacted post-study work rights and also require international students to have increased funds to support themselves while studying.
Higher education students will still have access to post-study work opportunities while students completing qualifications at Level 7 and below will only be eligible for post-study work rights if the qualification is relevant to 20 occupations on a ‘Green List’. The list includes roles in construction, engineering and education.
Prospective tertiary student visa applicants will need $20,000 per annum rather than the previous $15,000 and prospective international school students will need $17,000, although length of studies could change the requirements.
Students will need to pay tuition fees for the first year, or first program of study (whichever is the shorter), and they will have to prove funds for the same period, the government has said, although there are some exceptions for aviation students.
Students transitioning to post-study work visas from 11 May will also need to show funds of $5,000.
Finally, Education New Zealand will undertake a stocktake of current international student services and supports to identity any gaps that can be filled.