ISEA welcomes new support partner Education Tauranga

ISEA is pleased to announce Education Tauranga as a new support partner.

Education Tauranga is a group of educational institutions who offer high quality education and care to the international students who study and live in the Tauranga region.  Education Tauranga is made up of a large number of institutions at all levels of education – from primary schools to high Schools, to public tertiary institutions and private training establishments who are all based throughout Tauranga city and the accompanying centres of Waihi, Whakatane, Te Puke and Katikati.

ISEA welcome our first regional support partner Study Queenstown

ISEA are pleased to announce Study Queenstown as a new support partner. Study Queenstown promotes study opportunities in the Queenstown Lakes District and works with members across the English Language Sector, Schools Sector and Tertiary Education Sector. Queenstown is New Zealand’s premium destination for education, offering world class educational opportunities through a range of education providers, international connectivity and a unique student experience.


Immigration New Zealand will suspend overseas visa applications for three months

Immigration New Zealand announced on 31st July that they will suspend most types of temporary visas applications from offshore applicant within the next three months.

Due to the border closures, Immigration New Zealand have not been processing any offshore visa applications except for the applicants who have met the restrict exemption criteria. However, over the past few months, many offshore visa applicants continued to lodge visa applications expecting their applications to be processed.

According to the announcement, only a small group of offshore temporary visa applications are not affected

  • relationship-based visas for partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens and residents
  • visas for diplomatic, consular and official staff and accompanying dependants
  • Antarctic Traveller Visitor visas and Antarctic Work visas
  • Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited visas.

Offshore student visa, general visitor visa and most work visa applications will not be processed until further announcement.

Those who have already submitted a temporary visa application but are living offshore, are encouraged to withdraw their application and request a refund.

Click on the link to find out how you will get a refund for your visa application fee.

$51.6 million allocated to support the New Zealand international education sector

The Minister of Education announced on 27 July that the government will invest $51.6 million to help stabilise New Zealand’s international education sector through its long-term recovery plan.

  • $20 million will be allocated to state and state-integrated schools to keep international specialists employed in teaching and providing pastoral care to international students
  • $10 million will be allocated to Private Training Establishments (PTEs) including English language schools
  • $10 million will be spent to develop new future-focused products and services, including allowing students to study from their home country
  • $6.6 million will be spent on pastoral care and other activities for international students
  • $3 million will be allocated for market activities to keep promoting New Zealand’s education brand, etc
  • $1.5 million will be allocated to English language schools to deliver English language training to migrants
  • $500K will be allocated to ensure the quality of New Zealand education being delivered offshore and to strengthen the quality assurance process.

Some further highlights of the Minister’s announcement include:

  • Universities will not be allocated funds since they are financially doing well.
  • Education providers should not expect to bring in students from overseas this year.
  • The Government will be looking at bringing in low-risk cohorts of students first.
  • International students, if they do come to New Zealand, will be responsible for the costs of their isolation/quarantine period.

Education New Zealand will administer the proposed funds for marketing and brand protection activities and development of new future-focused products and services, etc. Criteria for allocation of funding for PTEs and English language schools will be jointly managed by Ministry of Education and Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

A $37.6 million programme was announced to assist foreign nationals

The International Student Hardship Fund has been fully allocated with around 11,000 international students receiving support in forms of cash grants, food parcels and accommodation support.

The New Zealand government has released a new programme to assist foreign nationals, including international students, impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic with basic needs such as food and accommodation.

Temporary visa holders who are not able to financially support themselves are advised to depart New Zealand if possible. However, for those who have remained in New Zealand due to various reasons, the government will provide assistance to those who are suffering serious hardship if all other avenues of potential support have been exhausted.

Under the new programme, assistance may be provided for food, household goods, basic clothing, medication, accommodation, utilities, pre-paid phone cards to enable emergency communication and communication with consulate/embassy, and petrol/travel with limitations applied. No cash payments will be offered.

The programme commenced on 1st July and will last for three months. It is projected that approximately 20,000 individuals are experiencing serious hardship. New Zealand Red Cross has been contracted to deliver assistance to foreign nationals.

For details, please refer to the FAQ documents.

Chief Executive Officer of NZIST appointed

Stephen Town, the former Chief Executive of Auckland Council, has been appointed the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.  Stephen commenced his role on the 6th July 2020 and will be based out of the WINTEC city campus in Hamilton.

Stephen looks forward to bringing the merged 16 national institutes of technology and polytechnics together to build a sustainable and world-class vocational education system that benefits students, workforce, employers as well as New Zealand’s social and economic development.

The headquarters of NZIST is based in Hamilton.

The New Zealand Government helps the international education sector on post-pandemic recovery

The New Zealand Government has announced changes to help the International Education sector which has been seriously affected by the Covid-19 pandemic

The Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, announced that the government will make amendments to the Education and Training Bill to help the international education sector’s recovery from COVID-19 and respond to future emergencies. The main changes include:

  • Waiving the Export Education Levy imposed on education providers for 2020 and 2021 to reduce their financial burden.
  • Postponement of the implementation of the Code of Practice for the pastoral care for domestic tertiary students, which was planned to be implemented during the period 1 January 2021 to 1 January 2022. The current interim Code of Practice for domestic students will be in place until the 1 January 2022.
  • Temporarily allow state and state-integrated schools to offer distance learning, including NCEA, to students based off-shore, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Enabling the Minister of Education to vary a tertiary funding determination, without a three-month stand-down period, in response to an epidemic or emergency.
  • Providing a new set of powers for the Secretary when a state of emergency, epidemic notice, or national transition period for recovery is in place.

For more information, please refer to the government and Ministry of Education website.

New Zealand established One Million hardship fund for international students

The New Zealand government established a one-million hardship fund for international students who are experiencing financial hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Applications must be submitted from education providers and organisations. Individual international students and education agents are excluded from submitting an application.
  • Funds will be provided to international students by education providers and organisations who are granted the fund
  • The maximum amount for each request is $20,000.
  • Applications must be submitted via this provide link.
  • The application is opened from 21 May and will be closed until further notice.

For details, please refer to the International Student Hardship Fund official website.

ISEA offers Free Education Agency Membership

International Standards Education Agents (ISEA) are pleased to advise that we have decided to offer a Free Education Agency Membership to education agents who promote New Zealand as a study destination.

The free ISEA Agency Membership opportunity is valid for the period 1st June 2020 to 30th September 2020.

Benefits of becoming an ISEA Education Agency Member

  • Access to industry updates via ISEA Agent Newsletters and announcements
  • Education Agencies will have access to contact ISEA with any industry related questions. This excludes any questions for individual course enrolment and student visa application processes and documentation checking.
  • Have a voice – access to participate in initiatives for the sector
  • Discount for joining the ISEA Training and Accreditation programme
  • Discounts for participating in industry events and workshops

If you would like to become an ISEA agent member, sign up for the ISEA Education Agent Membership now.

Why New Zealand is an ideal study destination?

New Zealand has provided international students with sufficient and prompt support in various ways during the Covid-19 pandemic. The New Zealand Government’s quick response and actions have demonstrated that New Zealand is one of the best study destinations for international students.  Below details some of the key points where International students have been supported through Government Agencies and Education Providers.


  • Flexibility with online learning: Education providers were supported by the New Zealand Government to launch online learning platforms to ensure students could continue to study.
  • Student support and counselling services: New Zealand Government agencies and education providers have been proactively involved in ensuring student support and counselling services have been made readily available for students who require extra support.
  • Wage subsidy programme: The New Zealand Government released a wage-subsidy scheme to assist employers to continue to pay wages. International students have also been able to receive the wage subsidy through their employer.
  • Financial support: Many New Zealand education providers have assisted students with hardship support, for example, covering rental payments during the lockdown period.
  • Visa extension: Immigration New Zealand automatically extended a number of temporary visa categories where students or workers were impacted and had expiring visas.
  • Student visa a priority: Immigration New Zealand is currently prioritising visa applications for international students who are already in New Zealand
  • Flexibility on work rights for student visa holders: Immigration New Zealand amended the work rights for international students working in essential businesses temporarily.
  • Repatriation: International students were allowed to take domestic flights and transportation to connect to international flights to leave New Zealand during the lockdown period.  The New Zealand Government worked with a number of other Governments and Embassies to support repatriation flights.
  • Free testing and treatment for Covid-19 related cases: The New Zealand Government covers all expenses for testing and medical treatment for people who are affected by Covid-19. This applies to everyone including international students and tourists who are already in New Zealand. 


To keep you updated with the news and policy changes in regard to Covid-19 in New Zealand, please refer to the New Zealand Covid-19 Page summarised by ISEA.