NZ border exceptions for international PhD students

The New Zealand government has announced that 250 international doctoral and masters students will be granted entry to New Zealand to continue their studies.

This news is the first step towards the managed return of international students, and will enable the University of Auckland to welcome back some of those whose study was disrupted by Covid-19. Priority will be given to PhD students who need to be in New Zealand to complete the practical components of their research and study, then other postgraduate students.

The government has allocated 250 places in managed isolation facilities so students can complete the mandatory 14 day isolation period before returning to campus. This decision signals New Zealand’s strong commitment to international students.

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said, “The exception today is a balanced decision that recognises the vital role international education will play in the recovery and rebuild of New Zealand and the need to continue the fight against the pandemic.”

Hipkins acknowledged that “International PhDs and other postgraduate students make a significant contribution to our research and innovation systems and boost the global reputations and competitiveness of our institutions.”

International PhDs and other postgraduate students make a significant contribution to our research and innovation systems and boost the global reputations and competitiveness of our institutions.

Hon Chris Hipkins Minister of Education

The first students will likely return to New Zealand in November. To rejoin the University of Auckland they will need to be current postgraduate students, must hold or have held a visa to study in New Zealand in 2020, and have been unable to enter New Zealand due to Covid-19. The pilot programme does not relate to new students.

The University is working to develop a comprehensive plan to support student wellbeing during the isolation period and ease the students’ transition back to campus in Auckland. Eligible students will be contacted directly to determine if they wish to return as part of this plan.

The announcement is a welcome step in the right direction, however it is still very likely that most of our overseas students will commence their 2021 studies online rather than in person. For new students, we continue to offer most of our courses online, including at our China Learning Centres in Chongqing, Harbin, and Nanjing. Almost all courses will be taught online in Semester One and Two in 2021. For a list of courses not available to overseas students, visit Studying online.

Ainslie Moore, Deputy Director of International Programmes and Services at the University of Auckland, has played a pivotal role in assisting Universities New Zealand to coordinate the cross-university discussion on the issue of international students returning to New Zealand. The University is committed to ensuring the pilot programme is successful for our students, staff and for the safety of the people of New Zealand.

Media contact

Kirsten Brown | International Communications Officer
DDI: 09 923 8154
Email: kirsten.brown@auckland.ac.nz