The current pilot Pathway Student Visa for New Zealand will go through some changes in 2021 when the program is set to become a permanent visa category.

The Immigration Authorities of New Zealand have decided to introduce two new rules into the program, the first of which is for education providers and the second for visa applicants.

According to a notice published by Immigration NZ, starting from January 2021, education providers in New Zealand will be eligible for the program if at least 80% of students intending to study with them have their visas approved, while the other rule is related to the English language requirement for foreign students.

We will update restrictions around study pathways that start with English language study so they are consistent with the English language requirements for international students set out in the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) Program Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018,” the notice reads, further explaining that all other criteria in the pilot will remain the same.

New Zealand Immigration Authorities introduced the Pathway Student Visa pilot in December 2015 in a bid to enable international students to study a maximum of three consecutive courses with a single visa, valid for up to five years. In order to be eligible for this visa, international students must be admitted to one of the approved education providers on one of the specific courses of study.

The applicant must also show proof that he/she is capable to pay the school fees and financially support themselves. However, Pathway Student Visa holders are eligible to work part-time up to 20 hours a week while studying and full-time in the holidays, depending on the course of study.

Currently, no new education providers can become part of the scheme, until the end of the pilot. Before the pilot ends, Immigration NZ will provide further information on how education providers can qualify to become part of the program.

We will also develop assurance processes to check that Pathway providers are meeting their obligations and share these with international education stakeholders,” the immigration authorities explain.


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