Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand has had one of the strictest border closures globally. This has included international students, most of whom have been unable to continue their studies in person.
But now the country’s government is beginning to let in some people enrolled in postgraduate courses, as it recognises “the role international students will play in the recovery of New Zealand,” according to a recent article.
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A phased return
As a start, 250 students in postgraduate programmes will come back to their campuses. “These are students who hold or held a visa for 2020, and whose long-term commitment to study here was disrupted by Covid-19,” New Zealand’s education minister Chris Hipkins explained. Some will be able to arrive back within weeks – in November 2020, while most will resume in-person study in 2021.
Students who arrive in New Zealand will quarantine for 14 days and will then be able to re-enter their schools’ campuses, according to Hipkins. This careful approach will allow for maximum safety so studies can continue uninterrupted for all. The government keeps monitoring and evaluating who can return, and will allow entry to more people when possible, Hipkins said.
Practical research and study
The government will prioritise international postgraduate students whose need to return is the most urgent, based on their course of study. Those in programmes involving “practical components” will be allowed in first so they do not miss out on important learning opportunities.
However, “We look forward to extending this as soon as possible to all our international students who remain overseas,” said Chris Whelan, chief executive of the organisation Universities New Zealand.
Once the pandemic is over, international MBA students can use their skills to contribute to the economic recovery in New Zealand as well as in their home countries.