New Zealand: Pathway Student Visas

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse have announced details of a Pathway Student Visa pilot designed to make New Zealand more competitive for international students.
Pathway student visa will allow international students to undertake a progression of up to three consecutive programmes of study with selected education providers on a single visa. They will be valid up to a maximum of five years.

Pathway student visas will be implemented on 7 December 2015 for an initial pilot period of 18 months and cover more than 500 higher quality primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The 18 month period will enable INZ to evaluate pilot outcomes, such as student transition rates from the first to the second programme of study and how well the arrangements between providers are working.

Pathway student visas will have the following key features:
Education providers will be required to have a 90% global student visa approval rate for entry into the pilot (over 12 month period)
Providers will enter into a formal agreement between themselves to manage pastoral care and education progress
Qualifying education providers participating in the pilot will be published on the INZ website
Students will provide an offer of place and paid tuition fees for the first programme of study/year (whichever is shorter) and conditional offers for subsequent programmes of study
Students will provide evidence of maintenance funds for the first year of study
Work rights will be granted for the visa duration if the first programme of study qualifies for work rights under existing immigration instructions.

The new visas will provide assurance for students and lead to efficiency gains for Immigration New Zealand and the industry as students will not need to apply for as many visas as well as having a visa for their whole planned pathway of study.


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