The changes are:
They are intended to support the attraction of international students studying at higher levels and preserve a pathway to residence for those with the skills and qualifications New Zealand needs, specifically through the link between more generous post-study work rights to higher level qualifications.
There has been significant growth in the international education sector over the last few years, especially in below degree level qualifications. As a result, there has been a decline in the skill level of people moving through the immigration system and granted permanent residency.
We want to ensure that post-study pathways for international students are fit-for-purpose and contribute the skills and qualifications New Zealand needs.
The Government wants to support the transition to these new immigration settings. These changes include a three year, time-limited incentive for international students to study outside Auckland. This is to ensure the benefits of international education are shared throughout all the regions of New Zealand, supporting the Government's aims to lift regional investment, growth and productivity.
There is a three year sunset clause, to enable those parts of the sector that are most affected by the changes (Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and Private Training Establishments (PTEs)) to be able to successfully transition, over time, to new immigration settings. It also supports the current ITP Roadmap 2020 work underway by the Tertiary Education Commission on the long-term viability of ITPs, while ensuring that Government goals for regional growth are not undermined.
These changes will be grand-parented, so they will not impact current post-study work visa holders or current students who are undertaking a qualification that (once completed) will meet the qualification requirements as set out in current immigration settings.
These changes support the Government's broader plans for a high quality international system in order to generate educational, economic, social and cultural benefits to New Zealand.