On April 12th, fully vaccinated international students will be prioritised into entering New Zealand, with 5,000 students being able to enter the country. 1,450 of these will be university-level students. Some university groups are calling to scrap the quota as any additional students will not be able to enter New Zealand until October and won’t begin studying until 2023.
Varsha Ravi, AUSA’s International Students’ Officer, responded by saying dropping the quota would be “highly beneficial! The rest of the world has opened up, what is stopping us? Getting rid of that cap is not only beneficial to the international student community ‘cause many will be able to return to pursue their degrees but also, all universities thrive off of international students. We need international students to bring back campus culture.”
The University of Auckland is among the nation’s universities who reported a slump in international enrolments, despite seeing a peak in 2021. The lack of enrolments is causing many universities to be stricter about where they put their finances, causing a rise in redundancies.
The border opening in its stages throughout 2022 means that students will also now be able to participate in exchanges, and visits overseas. For many international students, this also means that many international students will be able to go back home and reunite with their families. Varsha said, “As soon as I found out I could leave and return to NZ, I rang my family in Botswana and had a fat cry—tears of joy! I can’t even begin to describe the weight that lifted off my chest when I realised I finally have that security and assurance of being able to go home and return. My support system awaits me!”