All eight universities in Aotearoa have agreed to subsidise 50% of the managed isolation quarantine (MIQ) costs for the principal returning international student. Students studying at the University of Auckland and AUT, Waikato, Massey, Victoria, Canterbury, Lincoln, and Otago universities will all be covered. However, fees for additional people staying in MIQ with the student will still need to be self-funded.
In a Facebook post, The New Zealand International Students’ Association (NZISA) responded positively to the announcement that universities will be supporting returning offshore students with MIQ costs. “NZISA applauds the universities’ decision for stepping up and supporting returning international students, especially after the recent announcement on increased MIQ costs for temporary visa holders.”
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment recently announced a 78% increase in MIQ costs for temporary visa holders from the 25th of March. This increase will affect student visas. The NZISA argue that the revised fees only benefit the government at the expense of overseas students. “This decision is explicit discrimination against not only international students but all other temporary visa holders who contribute valuable work and diversity to the wider New Zealand communities.”
250 PhD students have already been granted a border exception to enter the country. One thousand more returning students at bachelor’s degree level and above returning in stages from April. In a press release, NZISA says these increases are “counterintuitive to the government’s decision to welcome more international students back into this country and to collaboratively work on strategies to recover the international education sector.”
NZISA shared that the current cost of two weeks in MIQ for the principal returning PhD student is $3100. For all students returning after the 25th of March, the cost will be $5520 for the principal adult. An additional adult’s cost has increased from $950 to $2990, and an additional child from $475 to $1610. All Universities will subsidise half of the principal student’s cost, but not other people they are staying with.
To be eligible for the border exception, PhD students need to provide proof of access to $15,000 for annual living expenses. For students at the Bachelors level and above, this increases to $20,000. The 1000 students at the Bachelors level and above need to have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 and intend on studying the same bachelor’s degree or postgraduate qualification at the same education provider.