Students From Visa-free Countries Can Apply for Permit in New Zealand

  • John Delamare

Students entering New Zealand from visa-free countries will be able to apply for a student permit onshore as soon as the Immigration Amendment Bill, currently before the House, becomes law.

The Minister of Immigration, Hon Tuariki Delamere, said the regulation change is another factor in making New Zealand an attractive destination for students and helping the international education sales market to be more competitive.

"The ability to enter New Zealand as a visitor and then apply for a student permit means students will be able to investigate New Zealand education and training options before making their final choice. This will make the process easier for students and may reduce some of their costs," Mr Delamere said.

Currently, people who intend to undertake a course of study longer than three months duration are required to obtain a student visa before travelling to New Zealand. In some cases, temporary permit holders do apply for a student permit in New Zealand but by law this cannot be their intention when entering New Zealand.

Minister of Education, Hon Wyatt Creech, said that the change will have real benefits for prospective students and will align New Zealand's student policy with Australia, one of our key competitors in the international student market.

"This policy change, along with other initiatives announced for international students this week, will help boost the number of young people choosing New Zealand as a tertiary study destination, bringing valuable foreign exchange to the economy and adding to the internationalisation of our education system," Mr Creech said.

There are about 7,500 foreign students enrolled in tertiary institutions in New Zealand. The international student market is currently worth approximately $350 million per annum in foreign exchange earnings.

The change in policy will come into effect when the Immigration Amendment Bill is passed into law.