Border class exception for 1,000 international tertiary students

A further border class exception for 1,000 international tertiary students has been approved by the Government for the following international students:

  • 400 pilot trainees
  • 300 students at degree level and above, and
  • 300 students at the sub-degree level.

We expect these students to start arriving from March 2022. 

Information update for education providers

The implementation framework for this border class exception has been finalised, and education providers have submitted their applications for an allocation of places.  

From December 2021, education providers will be responsible for nominating eligible students within this border exception to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education will confirm eligible tertiary students with Immigration New Zealand.

Border class exception categories and allocations 

The Ministry of Education has worked with the education sector to define the categories of students eligible for this exception. These are set out below.

300 degree level and above places

Degree level and above is defined as:

  • Level 7 Graduate Diploma (requiring a degree as an entry requirement) or
  • Bachelor's Degree, or
  • Courses at level 8 and above.

University allocations have been agreed with individual universities in consultation with Universities New Zealand. Subsidiary Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics allocations have been agreed with Te Pūkenga. Foreign government sponsored students eligible within this border class exception have been identified. 

Prospective students will need to contact their education providers to confirm their interest.

400 Pilot training places

In consultation with Aviation New Zealand, 400 places have been allocated to providers. These places are for student’s student studying a:

  • Level 7 Bachelor of Aviation, Graduate Diploma in Aviation (Flight Instruction), or
  • Level 6 NZ Diploma in Aviation (Airline Preparation or Flight Instruction), or
  • Level 5 NZ Diploma in Aviation (General Aviation), or
  • Level 6 Multi-Engine Instrument rating, Instructor Rating or Airline Transport Pilot License Theory Training scheme, or
  • Level 5 Commercial Pilot Licence Aeroplane or Rotary Training Scheme, or
  • Other courses incorporating a qualification as a pilot as approved by the Ministry of Education. 

300 Sub degree Places

Sub degree level is defined as:

  • An English Language course or Foundation course of at least 12 weeks duration followed by a commitment to further tertiary study as evidenced by a conditional offer of place. Where students are continuing study with a different provider, a jointly attested nomination will be required, or
  • Tertiary courses at Level 6 or below, or Level 7 courses excluding Degree and Graduate Diplomas.


Information for prospective international students

Education providers will supply information to prospective students when it becomes available.

The first steps for students are:

  • Notify your education provider of your intention to study in New Zealand. If you are already in contact with your education provider – you don’t need to do anything, your provider will work with you and guide you through the nomination process.
  • Please do not apply for a visa with Immigration New Zealand until you have a nomination confirmed by your education provider.
  • Once your education provider has confirmed your nomination you will need to make sure you meet the criteria to be travel ready (see travel ready check list).

Travel Ready Checklist

You will need to confirm you can meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older at the time of nomination by an education provider.
  • Meet all COVID-19 prevention requirements.
  • Have received the full course of an approved vaccine.(external link) You can read more at: New vaccination requirement for non-citizen travellers to New Zealand - link)(external link)
  • Have evidence that you have at least NZD $20,000 annually for living costs (or NZD $1,667 for each month of study if your programme of study is less than thirty-six weeks).
  • Have evidence that you can pay for managed isolation and quarantine (providers may choose to assist students with some or all costs).
  • Can successfully book an MIQ space timed to your visa and course start date (MIQ places are not guaranteed).
  • Are ‘travel ready’ to arrive in New Zealand from between March and  July 2022, including access to flight routes that easily link to New Zealand.
  • Can enter New Zealand and complete any isolation requirements.
  • Agree to your information being shared by government agencies to help you arrive in New Zealand.
  • Be aware that there may be changes to In Study Work Rights and Post Study Work Rights that may be implemented at the time of your application for a visa.
  • Demonstrate English competency as per the NZQA requirements. If you have any questions, contact NZQA.(external link)


How will the 1,000 students be selected?

The Ministry of Education will work with government agencies and the international education sector, including Universities New Zealand, Te Pūkenga, Aviation New Zealand and the PTE sector, to identify eligible students. Providers will be in touch with nominated students. 

How will I know if I can be nominated?

At the right time, your education provider will contact you to discuss your eligibility. You may contact your preferred education provider to signal your interest to study in New Zealand in 2022.

What if I don’t hear from my education provider who recommended my nomination by February 2022?

Check in with your nominated education provider. They will confirm whether they are nominating you under this border exception. 

How do I secure an MIQ spot?

When your visa application is approved, you will need to apply for a MIQ place. You can find more information at The managed isolation booking system | Managed isolation and quarantine ( link).

International students will not be able to secure MIQ places in December 2021 and January 2022. These places are reserved for New Zealand citizens and residents.

An approved visa application does not guarantee a MIQ spot in a timely manner.

Do I need to be fully vaccinated?

Yes. Anyone entering New Zealand (17 years and older), who is not a New Zealand citizen, will require a full course of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by a government or approval authority and received your last dose at least 14 days prior to arrival in New Zealand. Vaccination details will need to be confirmed prior to travel. See: Proof of vaccination for travel to New Zealand | Unite against COVID-19 ( link)

Am I eligible for a scholarship?

General information about scholarships for international students is available at Find a scholarship - link) and Scholarships and financial help.

Can I apply for a nomination with more than one education provider?

Ideally you will approach one preferred education provider who you already have a relationship with. Providers and government agencies will be working together to support the nomination process.

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