The Minister of Immigration has extended the Pathway Student Visa Pilot for a further 12 months. The new Pilot end date is 7 June 2018 and Immigration New Zealand will continue to accept Pathway Student Visa applications up until this date.
The Pathway Student Visa Pilot (the Pilot) allows participating education providers to offer a pathway of consecutive courses, which international students can complete on one visa. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) began the Pilot in December 2015 for an initial period of 18 months.
The Pathway Student Visa allows international students to undertake a pathway of up to three consecutive programmes of study on a single visa. The study can be:
- within a single participating provider, e.g. secondary school studies; study towards a bachelor’s degree; study towards a bachelor’s degree followed by postgraduate studies; or
- across multiple participating providers, e.g. secondary school studies followed by study towards a bachelor’s degree.
The Pilot is being extended so more data can be gathered
The long duration of many programmes studied by Pathway Student Visa holders meant there was a risk INZ would not have sufficient data at the end of the Pilot to accurately assess outcomes. Extending the Pilot by a further 12 months allows INZ more time to evaluate the outcomes of the Pilot and to gather more data, especially on student transitions between programmes.
The extension will also allow INZ to work with participating providers and develop guidance to support Pathway processes and to increase awareness of the product.
Growing the number of participating providers
To be eligible to participate in the Pilot, education providers were required to have an overall student visa approval rate of at least 90% over a 12 month period and be a school, a university or hold a category one or two rating under the New Zealand Qualifications Authority External Evaluation and Review framework.
INZ will be reviewing the student visa decision data for the 2016 calendar year to identify if any new education providers meet the entry criteria to participate in the Pilot.
Over the next two weeks, INZ will contact all providers that aren’t already participating in the Pilot but are eligible. Once this process is complete, INZ will update the list of participating providers.