International Students reluctant to return to New Zealand despite eased travel measures.

Despite the concessions on the pandemic related border restrictions, International students are reluctant to return to New Zealand for studies. This development comes as thousands of prospective students have experienced delays in the their visa applications which is negatively impacting the country’s education market.

The border restrictions in the Oceania country was eased in October 2020 to permit up to 250 postgraduate students back into the country. By December a further 1,000 students including undergraduates were allowed entry, However, universities are still awaiting the return of many of these students.

The chief executive of Universities New Zealand, Chris Whelan, stated that the number of students leveraging on the exemptions had been significantly lower than was envisaged. Apparently, most of the students were disillusioned by the limited and pricey travel costs of up to £2,800 (1.6 million Naira).

International students seem to consider the option of online courses to be a more cost effective option at this stage. The Immigration body of New Zealand are looking to refund visa application fees to some 50,000 applicants, many of whom are students. The immigration services are reportedly in talks with the government to resume the processing and issuance of visas imminently.

In neighboring Australia, the plans to fly in small groups of International students have stalled following a new wave of Covid-19 outbreaks. The government plans to permit the entry of international students in greater numbers when domestic vaccination rates reach 70 to 80 percent.

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