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New Zealand’s student pathway visa pilot, launched in December 2015, has been extended by the Ministry of Immigration for an additional year (12 month). The Pathway visa, which allows international students to pursue studies with up to three different education institutions over a five year period on only a single visa, was originally an 18-month pilot.
In line with governmental plans to enhance the country’s attractiveness as a study destination and to support the retention of talent, the Pathway visa also allows students to work alongside studies and supports their transition from e.g. language studies into higher education and full degree programmes. According to the UNESCO Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students, New Zealand’s international student body comprises about 48 800 students, with top sending nations being China, India, Australia, and the United States. The sector is currently valued at 2.8 billion NZD (EUR 18.2 billion) and the government’s established target to increase the sector’s value to 5 billion NZD (EUR 3.25 billion) by 2025 implies a demand to almost double international enrolments.
Source: UNESCO Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students (Incoming international students by country of origin)
There are eligibility requirements on both provider and student level that stipulate: providers must exhibit an overall student visa approval rate of 90% and students must hold an admissions offer from one or more participating providers as well as proof of sufficient funding for tuition and living expenses for the first year of study.
The pilot has been extended with the aim of Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to accurately evaluate outcomes of the pilot through more data collection, focusing on aspects as student transition rates and the effectiveness of arrangements between the different education providers cooperating on qualification plans for students. Moreover the visa's future seems promising with the target to grow the number of participating providers where INZ will be working proactively in identifying new institutions that meet entry criteria.
Immigration New Zealand – press release