International students will no longer undergo rigorous health checks as government “cuts the red tape” to allow for more investment in tertiary institutions.
“International education is worth $2.3 billion to the economy a year, and indirectly supports around 32,000 jobs," says Immigration Minister Nathan Guy.
"These changes will make it easier for low-risk, high-value students to come to New Zealand.”
From July, international students will no longer be required to supply full medicals and will only need to be screened for tuberculosis before entering the country.
This, the ministry says, will greatly reduce the cost and “hassle” for about 62,800 students who will save around $ 17 million a year in medical costs.
According to Stats NZ, 22846 international students came into New Zealand in 2011 on student visas, this was a slight increase on the 2009 figures, during which 22705 international students came into the country.
A Statistics NZ representative told NBR Online the figures for the number of international students who started their tertiary career during the first quarter of this year will only be available at the end of this month.
Students will be required to have health insurance as a condition of their visa, a requirement education providers already have in place.
Other changes will see partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens and residents only required to be screened for serious conditions which could disqualify them.
“These changes show the government is serious about tackling red tape and attracting migrants who can make a contribution to New Zealand,” Mr Guy said.
The announcement comes after Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O’Reilly told NBR Online that “smart immigration” would be needed to fill the skills gap, as more New Zealanders flock to Australia for better pay and opportunities.
"It is very important we get immigration right, with rules and laws which make sure we can attract and retain talent which might want to come and live in New Zealand for other reasons, because it is a nice place to be.”
He said Immigration New Zealand was working to assist New Zealand Business in obtaining the needed documentation for skilled migrants.
He added there was “a lot of competition” for skilled migrants worldwide and the rules of the “immigration game” needed to be changed to attract and retain international talent.