New Zealand Resumes Visa Processing, Open Borders For International Travellers

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Finally, New Zealand has decided to reopen its borders to international visitors. The international education sector is breathing a sigh of relief, as many are bracing for difficult few years ahead.

With the reopening of borders, international students and tourists, including those from non-visa waiver countries, will be able to enter. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden called it an “enormous moment,” but added that it was a “staged and cautious process.”

While there are no quarantine requirements, visitors must provide proof of vaccination in order to enter the country.

The maritime border is also now open, allowing qualified visitors to enter New Zealand by sea.

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Visa waiver travellers, as well as holders of work, working holiday, visitor, and student visas, can leave and return to New Zealand if their visa conditions allow it.

It began welcoming tourists from more than 50 countries on the visa-waiver list in May, including major tourism markets such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Japan, and South Korea.

“We, alongside the rest of the world, continue to manage a very live global pandemic, while keeping our people safe,” said Ardern in a speech at the China Business Summit in Auckland. “But keeping people safe extends to incomes and wellbeing too.”

At the start of 2022, stakeholders raised concerns about visa processing, which was causing uncertainty for returning students. However, along with the reopening of borders, visa processing has now resumed in full.

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International students used to bring in around USD 5 billion per year, making them New Zealand’s fourth largest export earner, but that figure is expected to fall dramatically by 2021.

Grant McPherson, Chief Executive, Education New Zealand, said in an open letter to the sector, “everything we have done – to support each other, support students, establish new initiatives, sustain and build new relationships in our partner countries, keep the New Zealand brand alive, and much more – all this work means that we are now able to focus on rebuilding the international education sector.”

“While we’ve continued to support the sector with border exceptions through the pandemic, the full resumption of visa processing is great news for our universities, polytechnics and wānanga, and schools, English language schools, and private training establishments,” he added.

(Source: economictimes)

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