New Zealand universities are hopeful that international students will be able to return to the country in July 2022.
Universities New Zealand says that the country’s international enrolments have remained “astonishingly high.”
UNZ CEO Chris Whelan told RNZ Education that the country’s eight institutions had about 14,000 international students.
Whelan says numbers have definitely gone down as students completed their studies online.
“At this stage our international student numbers are about 70 percent of what they were pre-Covid, quite astonishingly high.”
Earlier, a group of 80 Indians who live in New Zealand either on migrant or student visas staged a protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
In a tweet, the protestors claim that despite paying thousands of dollars and having a valid work visas, Indian offshore migrants are fighting for their rights.
“Because The PM of New Zealand @jacindaardern and Immigration Minister keep ignoring these migrants for more than 19 months.”
For the past 18 months, these people have been stranded in India as New Zealand has suspended travel from India due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, UNZ also believes that it is not practical to expect large numbers of international students in the country.
The entry of the international students will depend on the relaxation of isolation and quarantine requirements.
“We want students to return, but only in ways that are safe for New Zealand.”
Other countries such as Australia are moving forward to allow international travel by people who were double-vaccinated.
Australia’s strict border closure due to the COVID pandemic has also had a significant impact on international student enrolment at Australian universities.
The latest Australian government figures show there are currently 259,752 student visa holders in Australia while 148,464 student visa holders outside of Australia.
Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge speaking at #AIEC2021 said:
“I cannot be clearer about our desire to get international students back into the country. They have been an incredible source of revenue for our institutions and other businesses, they generate important linkages across our neighbouring countries, and many students have gone on to become outstanding citizens of our nation.”
He further added:
“Of course, they have also been an important source of labour while they are here, not just during their time that they are studying, but also in their post-study work rights which many students take advantage of.”
On the question when we do start to get our international student numbers up again, Minister Tudge said:
“We do need to do things differently to make the sector more sustainable and to create new opportunities for growth.”
Recent reports have found that since March 2021 applications had grown by 148 per cent in Canada, 150 per cent in the United Kingdom, and 422 per cent in the United States.
In the light of the pilot plans that have been announced by New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland, the return of the international students to Australia appears optimistic.