Domestic Tertiary Student changes for children of those on one-off 2021 Residence Visa pathway

The Government has agreed that from 1 January 2022, children of people who hold eligible work visas for the 2021 Resident Visa pathway will benefit from domestic tertiary student status before they apply or transition to residency.

On 30 September 2021, the Government announced a one-off residency pathway for migrants in New Zealand to transition to residency through a 2021 Resident Visa. The pathway provides certainty for migrants to plan their future. It’s expected to benefit around 165,000 people.

The Government is granting the children of those on the 2021 Residence Visa pathway domestic tertiary student status from 1 January 2022. This is intended to support them to continue their education in New Zealand before their applications for New Zealand residency are processed or granted. This provides certainty to the children, their families and tertiary providers that they can enrol as domestic tertiary students from 1 January 2022 rather than after their residency visa has been processed.

This extension to this specific group is time-limited from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2023. This covers two calendar years to provide certainty for learners and tertiary providers if residence applications are still outstanding late in 2022, when enrolments for 2023 start.

Domestic tertiary students benefit from paying reduced fees instead of international fees, as domestic tertiary students are subsidised by the government. It also includes access to some programmes that are fees-free, including: Youth Guarantee(external link), level 1-2 foundation qualifications, and programmes funded through the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund(external link) (until this fund ends on 31 December 2022).

Only those children of eligible work-visa holders, who are 25 years or under on 1 January 2022, and residing in New Zealand, will gain domestic tertiary student status for this period.

To comply with Immigration New Zealand visa settings, an eligible student will need to hold a student visa if they are studying for longer than three months, with conditions that allow them to study at a tertiary education provider. These visas can be granted with an expiry date that either aligns with the expiry date of their parent’s visa or 31 December 2023, whichever is sooner. 

Further information on the process to apply for this student visa will be provided on Immigration New Zealand’s website in the next few weeks. Eligible students can apply for a student visa to undertake tertiary study as a domestic tertiary student from 1 January 2022.

If any students covered by this temporary provision do not transition to a resident visa prior to the end of 2023, they would no longer be domestic tertiary student from 2024 and would be expected to pay international fees to continue studying.

A parent on a work visa is not covered by these changes for tertiary study.  No changes have been made to school settings as children of work visa holders can continue to access schooling as domestic students. Furthermore, no changes have been made to student support or Fees Free settings. Those transitioning to a 2021 Resident Visa would not be eligible for this financial support until they have held a resident visa for three years.

Further information on what tertiary education providers will need to do to verify the eligibility of these students can be found on the TEC’s website here: Home | Tertiary Education Commission ( link). For courses starting on or after 1 January 2022, tertiary providers will have to charge these students domestic fees and the tertiary provider can claim tuition subsidies for enrolments from these students for the whole of the 2022 calendar year.

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