International Student Border Class Exception - Phase 3

The preparation for the 3rd phase of the border exception for international students has been initiated with comprehensive guidelines and expanded reach. In the past years since the inception of the pandemic, the NZ border has been closed for almost everyone except for the citizens, residents and specific border class exempted people such as health care workers and essential workers etc. In order to ensure the safety of the population, the government is most likely to continue the restrictions and regulations in 2022 as well. As a continuation of the last 2 special border exception intakes for the international students, the 3rd phase is underway.

The Ministry of Education has confirmed that the 3rd phase will take place with 1000 international students intake. This will extensively benefit the education sector. The Implementation of this border class exception, including the final allocation of places to providers and assessment of the majority of student nominations to those places, is expected to be completed by later 2021.

The allocation proportion for the respective groups are as follows:

  • Degree level and above

300 places for the students who are studying degree level and above. This will be allocated to Level 7 Graduate Diplomas, Bachelor Degrees, and courses at Level 8 and above.

  • Sub-degree level

300 places for sub-degree level courses. This will cover tertiary courses with specific allocations to English Language and Foundation programmes.

  • Pilot trainees

400 places will be allotted to pilot trainees. This allocation will include degree and sub-degree level pilot training courses.

General Eligibility Criteria:

  • International students who are eligible for this intake should provide evidence of having access to at least NZD $20,000 annually to cover the living costs or NZD $1,667 for each month of study if their programme of study is less than thirty-six weeks.

The annual living costs is an interim amount specifically related to this group. The MBIE is reviewing the funds required for all other international students.

  • Students must also present proof that they have supplementary funds to spend for MIQ which is currently approximately $2,760.

  • Students entering New Zealand through this class exception will need to fulfil all MIQ requirements in place at the time of entry.

  • To be eligible for this border class exception students will need to meet all COVID-19 prevention measures. This includes adhering to travel restrictions and pre-departure tests to enter New Zealand.

  • Non-citizen students who are entering New Zealand of age 17 years and older need to get a full course of any of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by a government or regulatory approval authority and have received their last dose at least 14 days prior to arrival in New Zealand.

  • A group MIQ booking application has been made for the months of March, April and May 2022 to help facilitate the entry of some students included within this border class exception. While some students may enter MIQ via a group booking, all others will need to enter via the MIAS system.

The outcome of the MIQ group booking application is likely to be known in late December 2021. There is no entry into MIQ in December 2021 or January 2022 for the 3rd border class exception. Providers may choose to assist students with some or all of these costs for MIQ. Providers are required to attest that nominated students are fully aware of any possible changes to Immigration New Zealand’s In Study Work Rights and Post Study Work Rights policy that may be implemented at the time of their application for a visa. Further information on possible changes is expected from MBIE in late 2021 or early 2022.


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