New visa to grow more value from international students

  • Michael Woodhouse
  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Immigration

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse have announced a new student visa designed to make New Zealand more competitive for retaining and attracting top international students.

The Pathway Student Visa will allow international students to undertake a pathway of up to three consecutive programmes of study with selected education providers. A pathway can be offered by a single education provider or in partnership with other selected education providers. They will be valid for a maximum of five years.

Mr Joyce says the Pathway Student Visas will be implemented from 7 December for an initial pilot period of 18 months and cover more than 500 primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

Figures released earlier this month showed the number of international students studying in New Zealand on a student visa went up by 16 per cent in the 2014/15 financial year to 84,856.

“The industry and Government believe that Pathway Student Visas will help retain more international students and make New Zealand more competitive with countries such as Australia which already offer pathway programmes,” Mr Joyce says.

“The International education industry is already worth $2.85 billion dollars in foreign exchange each year and Pathway Student Visas are an important initiative that will help is in our goal to double the value of international education to New Zealand by 2025.”

Mr Woodhouse says the new visas will provide assurance for students that they have a visa for their whole planned pathway of study.

“They will also lead to efficiency gains for Immigration New Zealand and the industry as students will not need to apply for as many visas,” Mr Woodhouse says. “There are safeguards in place, including requirements for providers to have a 90% global student visa approval rate for entry into the pilot and entering into a formal agreement between themselves to manage pastoral care and education progress.

“The 18 month period will enable INZ to evaluate outcomes of the pathway student visa pilot programme, such as student transition rates from the first to the second programme of study and how well the arrangements between providers are working.”