Border class exception for 5,000 international students

A fourth border class exception for 5,000 students has been approved by the Government for the following international students in 2022: 

  • Universities  1,450 student places
  • Te Pūkenga  700 student places
  • Schools (Year 9 and above)  1,000 student places
  • PTE (including pilot training)  850 student places
  • English Language Schools  1,000 student places.

The general timeline and implementation for Cohort 4 is outlined below. It is intended that most students will arrive in New Zealand in time for a mid-2022 study start.

Information for education providers

Education agencies have developed an Implementation Framework for Cohort 4 in consultation with education peak bodies.

Universities and Te Pukenga have been provided with specific allocations to nominate students to Cohort 4.

Schools, ELS and PTEs were required to apply for places within Cohort 4 due to the number of providers. Education providers who met the criteria in the Implementation Framework and applied for an allocation of places before 22 March 2022 have been advised of their specific allocation to nominate students to Cohort 4.

Education providers are responsible for nominating eligible students within this border exception to education agencies. Education agencies will confirm eligible students with Immigration New Zealand. If approved for nomination, these students will be able to make a formal request for travel to New Zealand and apply for a student visa. 

Providers must be signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021. 

The Education New Zealand website provides comprehensive information for education providers nominating students to Cohort 4.

Cohort 4 — Education NZ — link)

Information for prospective international students

Students who are interested in being nominated for this border exception should talk to their prospective education providers to indicate their interest and confirm if they are eligible.

Education providers will supply relevant information to prospective students.

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 for students to be considered for nomination

To be eligible for nomination students must:

  • Enter New Zealand on a student visa, and meet all visa requirements including providing evidence that they have access to:
    • For tertiary students at least NZD $20,000 annually for living costs (or NZD $1,667 for each month of study if their programme of study is less than 36 weeks).
    • For school students at least NZD $15,000 annually for living costs.
  • Meet all COVID-19 prevention measures(external link), this includes adhering to any travel restrictions, pre-departure tests and any isolation requirements in place at the time of entry to New Zealand see.
  • Agree to sharing of private nomination information between themselves, their education provider and New Zealand Government agencies involved in the border exception process for the purpose of tracking their progress up to and including their commencement of study in New Zealand.
  • Be ‘travel ready’ and able to arrive in New Zealand from mid-2022 and by October 2022 within the logistical constraints that exist.
  • Enrol to study in a course eligible for Cohort 4.
  • We recommend students talk to their education provider about whether the course they intend to undertake meets the criteria for nomination under Cohort 4.
  • Each education provider will have a limited number of places available to nominate students. We suggest students contact their education provider for information sheets if they wish to be considered. 

The Education New Zealand website provides comprehensive information for students who wish to be nominated to Cohort 4.

Cohort 4 — Education NZ — link)

Information for education agents

We understand education agents can play a key role in supporting the education sector with international students. We advise education agents to engage with education providers for information sheets which have been developed to guide you through supporting students’ arrival. 

Expected timings

  • From Mid-March 2022 – decisions begin to be communicated about the allocation of places to individual education providers.
  • Late March 2022 – education providers begin nominating students.
  • 13 April 2022 – the border exception visa application process opens for Cohort 4 students.
  • From mid-2022 onwards – students begin arriving in New Zealand.

Student visa processing more broadly resumes under Step 5 of Reconnecting New Zealand. You can read more about the immigration changes at each step on Immigration New Zealand’s website.

Reopening the New Zealand border – Immigration NZ(external link)

See information on the previous border class exception for 1,000 international students:

Border class exception for 1,000 international tertiary students(external link)

Distribution of places in Cohort 4 and Cohort 3

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