New Zealand’s upcoming election raises a series of prospective changes that can significantly benefit and provide more opportunities to international students. Current leaders have pledged to continue their strategic recovery plan to ensure ongoing improvements for international students. If implemented, these reforms can potentially turn the region into a more attractive study-abroad destination.
The following are the advantages and opportunities that international students stand to gain:
Worker’s rights expansion
With New Zealand’s possible change in leadership, international students might soon enjoy the privilege of working up to 24 hours a week, an increase from the current 20. This would put New Zealand at par with other popular international student destinations like Australia. The increased work hours could provide students with additional financial assistance to support both their education and living costs.
Addressing skills shortages
New Zealand plans to regularly review these shortages, potentially making international students who study sub-degree courses in these high-demand areas eligible for a minimum of 12 months of post-study work rights. This change could open more avenues for international students to gain practical experience.
Extended post-study work rights
International students pursuing postgraduate diplomas may also find themselves in a more favorable position. The proposed extension of post-study work rights from one year to two years offers them the chance to gain valuable work experience in New Zealand, supplementing their post-graduate plans.
Extended opportunities for spouses/partners
The reforms affect more than just international students themselves. Partners of international students engaged in level 7 (the equivalent to a diploma, bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate or graduate diploma) or higher qualifications could be granted open work rights while they study. Post-study work rights for those with postgraduate diplomas will be extended from one year to two years. This inclusion could improve the financial stability of international students and their families during their time in New Zealand.
Efficient visa processing
A vision of one of New Zealand’s leaders also includes fast-track visa processing for international students willing to pay an additional fee. Currently, student visa applications in New Zealand take about 22 weekdays, which is under the 30-day target. 90% are processed within 45 weekdays. With the initiative promised, an additional fee will reduce processing time to two weeks and leaders also plan to get 90% of all applications decided within 30 days. This aims to streamline the otherwise tedious procedure, making it more efficient and reducing processing times. This improvement could make New Zealand even more appealing to prospective international students.
Overall, these potential reforms are designed to boost New Zealand’s international education sector. If realised, these changes would improve students’ educational experiences and offer them better opportunities after graduation. Regardless of the election results, the future of international education in New Zealand appears promising.