If you are interested in coming to study in New Zealand, you won't be alone! Over the last few years New Zealand has had a steadily increasing number of international students seeking education. The biggest number is in New Zealand's language schools. But there are also large numbers in secondary schools, private training establishments, universities, and institutes of technology.
In recent years New Zealand has become an increasingly popular destination for international students. Students to New Zealand, come from cities as far apart as Singapore, Munich, Harare, Seoul and Beijing. Wherever they come from, they are earning a reputation as original thinkers and achievers.
There are a wide range of education providers, subjects, courses and qualifications in New Zealand, and they are available in many different parts of the country. The largest cities in New Zealand have the widest choice of educational institutions, but some regional centres have excellent study opportunities also, offering unusual courses like adventure tourism or wine-making.
Your study can also be a stepping-stone to work or residence in New Zealand.
New Zealand qualifications are practical, up to date, and often innovative. New Zealand graduates are in demand all over the world. Some graduates find jobs with international companies who have offices located in many different countries, whilst others find fulfilling positions in New Zealand. If you study in New Zealand you can earn bonus points that will help you become a resident, also you have a better opportunity at getting a job in New Zealand after you graduate from an onshore course.
Study programmes can vary from a few months to several years in length. Language schools will enrol you for courses of just a few weeks if you want short, intensive study. Many university and polytechnic courses are offered in semesters (a semester is about half a year), but it will take several years to complete a diploma or degree. You need to have a good standard of English to enrol in most tertiary programmes in New Zealand.
You may need to get a Student Visa and/or Permit to study in New Zealand as an international student. There are rules and requirements that you will be required to meet.
To be eligible to come to New Zealand as a student your course must meet the New Zealand requirements for international students. The requirements you must meet as a student include:
To enter New Zealand you need:
While in New Zealand:
- to have an offer of a place from a New Zealand education provider such as a school, polytechnic or university;
- evidence that you have arranged accommodation through the education provider or through another person;
- a guardian who is eligible to accompany you, if required;
- to be in good health and of good character. If your stay is longer than six months, in some cases you may need to complete a TB clearance. And if it is longer than two years, you will have to provide medical and police certificates;
- a passport that is valid for at least three months past the date you are to leave New Zealand;
- proof that you plan to leave New Zealand once you've completed your study proof that:
- you've paid any course fees that you're required to pay;or
- you're exempt from paying fees;or
- you have a scholarship or an award that covers your fee
- proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay
- to have the right visa for your visit.
If you are granted a Student Permit you need to meet certain conditions during your stay:
- you must attend the place of study noted in your permit. However you can apply to the Government to change your course or the institution;
- you must live with your guardian, if required;
- proof that you are making progress in your study - that you are passing your course;
- you may only undertake work allowed by your Student Permit;
- you must keep within New Zealand's laws; and
- you must only stay in New Zealand for the time allowed by your permit.
If you break any of these conditions the New Zealand Government may revoke your permit.
What are the requirements my course has to meet?
The most important requirement is that you have an offer of a place from a New Zealand education provider such as a school, polytechnic or university.
Study programmes offered to international students must meet specific course requirements. To meet our requirements, an offer of a place made by a New Zealand education provider must include:
- the name of the course and the minimum time required for completing it;
- proof that the course and course provider meet New Zealand's requirements for international students;
- the amount of the fee for the complete course, or, if the course is longer than one year, the annual fee;
- whether or not the student has to pay course fees.
There are specific requirements depending on whether you are enrolled in a primary, secondary or tertiary course.
To grant you a New Zealand visa or permit the New Zealand Government need to be assured that you and any family included in your application are of good character. This requirement is made to protect the well being and security of New Zealanders.
Generally, the Government will not grant you a visa or permit if you:
- have ever been convicted and sentenced to a prison term of five years or more;
- have been convicted and sentenced to a prison term for 12 months or more in the past 10 years;
- have ever been deported from New Zealand or any other country;
- are believed to have associated with criminal or terrorist groups or are in some way a danger to New Zealand.
The New Zealand Government may also decline your application if you have ever been convicted of an offence, including immigration, drug, and violence offences.
Cost of Living Funds
To gain a Student Visa or Permit the New Zealand Government will want to see that you are able to meet your living costs during your stay.
Evidence required may include:
- sufficient funds held in New Zealand by you, or on your behalf; or
- an undertaking by another person to cover your accommodation and living costs, the Government will want to see this before you leave for New Zealand; or
- an undertaking by a New Zealand to cover your accommodation and living costs; or
- financial assistance available to you under aid programmes operated in New Zealand by a government agency.
If you are taking a course lasting less than nine months you will need to show that you have access to:
- NZ $1000 for each month of your stay; or
- NZ $400 for each month, if your accommodation is already paid for. You will need to show the New Zealand Government that you have paid; or
- a letter from your education provider that your accommodation and other living costs are included in the package you've already paid for.
For more information about the visa and sponsorship process please contact a Migration Matters consultant
If you're taking a course that is longer than nine months you will need to show you have access to:
- NZ$10,000 per year to cover your costs during your stay in New Zealand; or
- if you are a citizen of Samoa or Tonga, a written guarantee from a relative who is a New Zealand citizen or resident that they will cover your living costs.
Evidence of funds can be:
- travellers cheques;
- bank drafts;
- a recognised credit card with sufficient available credit.
Before granting a Student Visa or Permit the New Zealand Government may want evidence that you have plans to leave New Zealand once your study is finished.
Evidence that you have travel plans to leave New Zealand after your stay can include:
- confirmed or open-dated travel tickets out of New Zealand to a country you may rightfully enter;
- a letter from an airline or travel agent to say your travel has been booked and paid for;
- sufficient funds held in New Zealand, additional to the funds you'll need for your living expenses;
- an approved undertaking from a New Zealand that, if necessary, they'll meet the cost of your travel back to your home country at the completion of your training;
- an undertaking from someone else that, if necessary, they'll meet the cost of your travel back to your home country at the completion of your training. The Government will need this before considering you for a visa;
- financial assistance available to you under an aid programme operated in New Zealand by a government agency.
When you apply for your visa or permit the New Zealand Government will need to be assured that you and any family members with you are healthy. This requirement is made to safeguard the well being of New Zealanders and to avoid placing a burden on the country's health and social services. The Government also wants to ensure that people entering New Zealand are fit for the purpose they have entered for.
Generally, your application will be declined if:
- there is any likelihood you'll need dialysis treatment;
- you have active tuberculosis (TB) - if you are on anti-TB treatment we'll delay making a decision about your visa or permit until you've had six months of treatment;
- you have required either hospital or residential care for a mental disorder or intellectual disability for more than 90 days in the last two years;
- you have a physical incapacity that requires full time care.
Your application may also be declined if you:
- have some other infectious or communicable disease; or
- you need surgery that may add to the burden of the New Zealand health system.
If you are coming to New Zealand to study for more than six months or intend to stay in New Zealand for more than six months you must provide a chest x-ray plate and a x-ray Certificate.
If you are entering New Zealand to study for two years or more or if you intend studying for two years or more you and any family members coming with you need to have a doctor assess your health and fill in New Zealand Immigration Service medical and chest x-ray certificates.
Pregnant women and children under the age of 12 years are not required to submit x-ray certificates unless a special report is required.