COVID-19 screenings at departure and arrival, two COVID-19 tests, 14 days of quarantine and no work rights while studying — these are the requirements being proposed by the National Party to allow international students in New Zealand to return at the second half of the year.
The National Party is urging the New Zealand government to allow international students to return as soon as it can be safely done, according to NZ Herald.
“If it doesn’t move quickly, New Zealand is at risk of missing out on international students for the second half of 2020, which will cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars,” said National Party deputy leader Nikki Kaye.
The New Zealand National Party has 55 members of Parliament, 15 elected from the party list and 40 electorate seats. The current New Zealand government is governed by the Labour Party in coalition with the New Zealand First Party.
As New Zealand reports zero new cases of COVID-19 several weeks in a row, universities in the capital city Wellington are hoping international students will be able to resume or begin their studies in the country.
Ministries, border agencies, airlines as well as other airports are reportedly in talks to safely facilitate international arrivals. A previous report said universities are mulling special flights for international students.
Statistics New Zealand found that international students studying for less than 12 months spent NZ$3.9 billion in the year to March 2019.
Their value was much more than the revenue they bring to universities and the wider economy, according to Victoria University Vice-chancellor Grant Guilford.
“They contribute significantly to universities’ ability to be world-class. They augment domestic student revenue significantly, but they also help us compete with other countries for the global talent pool that fuels the knowledge economy.
“A number of nations around the world realise that if they can recruit those students, they get an advantage in high tech and other industries.”
Potential new guidelines for new international students in New Zealand
How will international students in New Zealand’s universities travel to the country for the coming semester?
Under the National Party’s proposal, this would start with a health check before departing their home country, followed by physically distancing on flights and another health check upon arriving in New Zealand.
What then follows is a COVID-19 test at the start of quarantine and again after 14 days. If they test negative for the virus, they can leave quarantine and move to repurposed halls of residence or hotels, which would be certified and monitored by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.
Colleges and universities will run these facilities. International students will have to pay for the costs.