Beginning on July 31, 2022, immigration officers in New Zealand will start processing student and tourist visas, which, according to the government, "signals the complete restart of foreign education."

This is sooner than the government's previously anticipated October timeline. In addition, when their visas are approved in the upcoming weeks, 5,000 students will enter the nation through a border exemption. Visa applications for this group are already being handled.

International students entering New Zealand should be ready for stricter post-study work rights regulations as well as increased financial resource requirements.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins stated the following on the future foreign education strategy:

“The future will be different, we won’t be going back to National’s volume over value approach that became a backdoor to residency for lower-skilled and lower-paid migrant workers, who were then at risk of exploitation. [The] changes we’re announcing today seek to attract students to New Zealand to learn, while also shutting the backdoor route to residency.”

Updated guidelines for post-study work rights

Additionally, the government provided information on future post-study job rights for overseas students. Non-degree students will only be allowed to work after they complete their studies if their qualification is connected to an occupation on the new Green List, whose categories correlate to labor market skills shortages. Degree-level students will still be eligible for post-study employment privileges. These students are required to work in a profession on the Green List. The government claims that the 85 jobs on the Green List "would give highly skilled healthcare, engineering, trade, and tech industry employees with a simplified and prioritized road to residency, incentivizing them to migrate to New Zealand permanently." Graduate students may work after their studies for three years.

No student may submit a second work permit application. According to the government, this is done to shorten the amount of time someone may work in New Zealand before applying for an Accredited Company Work Visa, which requires the employer to first determine if a New Zealander is qualified for the position.

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