NZ may reopen for foreign students amidst Coronavirus lockdown
The New Zealand government is currently considering allowing foreign students enter NZ to study before the Coronavirus outbreak-driven border closure is officially lifted for other foreign nationals.
This move would mean foreign students would be able to enter or return to NZ while it is still under lockdown and imposing COVID-19 quarantine conditions.
According to Radio NZ, higher education institutions across the country are putting increasing pressures on the government to introduce adaptive response measures.
These institutions have experienced a dramatic drop in student numbers as a result of the COVID-19 travel limitations.
News website Stuff explained that, once the country reaches Alert Level 2 Universities will be able to reopen, but international students would not be able to return at this stage.
The likelihood is that most institutions will continue to provide their teaching solely online until July.
NZ hopes 2 week Coronavirus quarantine will not be a barrier for foreign students
New Zealand Education Minister Chris Hipkins stated that the government is working through potential options with the education sector and expressed his hopes that international students will be permitted to return at a faster rate than tourists.
Hipkins said: “Unlike tourists who are coming here for a short period of time, international students are often coming here for a year or more, so a two-week quarantine isn’t as much of a barrier as for those entering for tourism.”
“And then it may well be possible that we can resume more international education in that environment.”
Hipkins also declared the necessity of institutions evidencing their implementation of a “hard quarantine model” if permitted to re-admit international students.
“We could not be relying on trust for example, we couldn’t be putting them in a hall of residence and saying ‘don’t go anywhere’, we’d actually need to know that it was an enforceable model.
“We would need to see assurance, we’d need to see a good concrete proposal but we’re certainly open to receiving that proposal.”
2019-20 saw NZ’s lowest number of student visa applications for over 10 years
This move comes after the latest New Zealand immigration statistics revealed a marked drop in 2019-20 student visa applications, down 31% from the previous year.
It is hoped that such adaptive measures will limit the damage that the virus causes to this sector previously worth $5 billion a year.
The decline led to New Zealand experiencing the lowest number of student visa applications for over 10 years.
In addition, New Zealand saw a 33% fall in applications from full-fee-paying international students.
Pic: Artem Beliaikin
Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.
Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org