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NZ to scrap health checks in visa process

In a clear bid to compete for international intake, New Zealand announced yesterday that it is scrapping the health screening rules that were in place for international students and other migrants.

This will make it easier for low-risk, high-value students to come to New Zealand

“From July this year, international students will no longer need to supply full medicals,” announced Minister of Immigration, Nathan Guy. Unless they have other health conditions, they will only  be screened for tuberculosis – saving considerable time and money.

Guy claimed, “This will greatly reduce the cost and hassle for around 62,800 students who will save around NZ$17 million a year in medical costs.”

“International education is worth $2.3 billion to the economy a year, and indirectly supports around 32,000 jobs. These changes will make it easier for low-risk, high-value students to come to New Zealand.”

New Zealand is clearly pursuing a growth drive in international education, its fifth-largest export industry. It announced NZ$5 million in investment for businesses in the Canterbury area last week, which have been dented since the earthquake in Christchurch.

“This will save around NZ$17 million a year in medical costs”

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) stated, “Students are generally young and because they are ineligible for publicly funded health care, the risk of them imposing health costs on New Zealand is low.  

“INZ wants to support the growth of the export education industry in New Zealand, and reducing health screening for fee paying international students does this. Our economic future depends in part on the continued success of our education, tourism and other export sectors.”

New Zealand is also requiring international students to hold health insurance as a condition of their visa but education providers are already required to ensure they hold insurance. Nevertheless, INZ is consulting with the sector on the compulsory implementation of this requirement.

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