Cohort 4

Information about New Zealand's new border class exception allowing entry for up to 5,000 international students (Cohort 4)

Cohort 4

A new cohort of up to 5,000 international students was announced by the Government on 3 February 2022, as part of a five-step plan to reopen Aotearoa New Zealand's borders.

So far, over 4,250 students have had their nominations confirmed as part of this cohort (as at 6 May 2022).

The students will be able to enter New Zealand with special permission as a border class exception, through a centrally managed process.  They will be able to start their study in New Zealand from mid-2022. 

This new cohort is also known as Cohort 4, following three earlier border exception classes for international students. Note: Students in this cohort are not affected by the changes to post-study work rights and funding requirements announced on 11 May 2022.

Places for the 5,000 students were allocated across the education sector as follows: 

  • University 1,450  
  • Te Pūkenga 700 
  • School (year 9 - 13) 1,000 
  • Private Training Establishment (PTE) (including pilot training) 850
  • English Language School 1,000  

International students can only be nominated for Cohort 4 through their education provider. 

Education providers are responsible for determining eligible students to fill the places they have been allocated. Education providers submit information on these students to government education agencies. 

Education agencies confirm that the students meet the criteria, approve the nomination, and send this information to Immigration New Zealand. If the nomination is confirmed, the students are asked by their education provider to make a formal request, within two weeks, for travel to New Zealand. After this, they are invited to apply for a student visa and are given one month to do so. 

Key dates are as follows: 

  • 31 March 2022 – all education providers could begin nominating students for their allocated places 
  • 13 April 2022 – the request for travel process opened for nominated cohort 4 students
  • 6 May 2022 – deadline for individual education providers to have completed their nominations. Unallocated places have been transferred to other providers
  • From mid-2022 – Cohort 4 students are in New Zealand ready to begin their study
  • 31 July 2022 - student and visitor visas reopen for processing.

Anyone travelling to New Zealand by air must complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration before check-in, to show that they comply with COVID-19 vaccination and test requirements. Information about acceptable vaccines, exemptions, and how to apply is on the New Zealand Traveller Declaration website.

Click through to the cards below to see more detailed information for international students, New Zealand education providers, and agents.

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