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New Zealand's Education Strategy Released

New Zealand's Education Strategy Released
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Following consultations that took place earlier this year, New Zealand has launched its finalized strategy for International Education for 2022-30.

Consultations on this new education strategy concluded on June 24, and thus the new plan was released on August 16, after a number of amendments to the drafted International Education Strategy were made. 

The latest reports from ENZ following the release of the strategy’s final document stated 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.

International education fees are expected to be even lower in 2022. This is due to recent reports from Immigration New Zealand, stating that following the opening of the borders on July 31, there were just 14,639 international students with valid study visas in New Zealand.

Back in December 2021, the government predicted the number of international students to be around or fewer than 20,000, compared to 125,000 students in 2018. The overall number of international students for 2022 was eventually deemed “uncertain”.

As per the government’s recent consultations with the international education sector, it was clarified in the updated strategy that smaller providers are not held to the same level of expectations as larger providers, meaning that they are not expected to diversify to the same extent or go into areas outside their core purpose. 

In efforts to help providers give more sound and accurate information to prospective students, Immigration New Zealand will be sharing up-to-date information on visa processing times, as well as times for submitting good applications.

The updated strategy addressed the importance of immigration as a contributing factor in building back the international education system. Furthermore, the strategy notes that there is now a need for government agencies to collaborate with and work alongside the international education sector in efforts to properly implement the strategy as well as cater to the needs of international students that intersect with government agencies.

Contrary to previous drafts of this strategy, the current draft has allocated more roles for both Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment.

Not only that, but the Ministry of Education has also made a commitment to “understand what it means to honour Te Tiriti in the provision of international education opportunities for domestic students”.

The impacts of the Immigration Rebalance policy changes on student visas are set to be monitored by agencies, with a monitoring framework to be introduced as well. This is to build a high-value and diversified future for the international education strategy through understanding the onshore and offshore offerings.  

These changes to the immigration settings have impacts on post-study work rights, requiring international students to have additional funds to support themselves while studying.

Eligibility for post-study work opportunities is granted to higher education students, as well as students completing qualifications at Level 7 and below. The latter are only eligible for post-study work rights if their qualification is relevant to 20 occupations on a ‘Green List’, including education, construction, and engineering.

Visa application fees have now been raised for prospective tertiary students from $15,000 to $20,000 per annum. As for prospective international school students, a sum of $17,000 is required, however, this may vary depending on the length of their studies. 

With a few minor exceptions for aviation students aside, the rest of the international student population in New Zealand will need to pay tuition fees for the first year, or the first program of study (whichever is the shorter), as well as prove funds for the same period of time, as stated by the government. Students transitioning to post-study work visas from 11 May will also need to show funds of $5,000.

Education New Zealand is set to undertake a stocktake of current international student services and supports to identify any gaps that can be filled in the future.



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