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Visa And Permit Processing For Overseas Students

MEDIA RELEASE
27 February 2004

Faster Visa And Permit Processing For Overseas Students

Overseas students can now expect a faster and easier service when renewing their visas and permits.

Today the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) launched ‘Students Online’, a streamlined student application processing system aimed at providing accessible, quality, reliable and faster services.

NZIS eServices Manager Arron Baker said Students Online applied to overseas students studying or applying to study at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), UNITEC, AUT and Lincoln, Waikato and Victoria Universities.

“Following a successful pilot with Lincoln University and MIT in June 2003, NZIS has continued to work closely with both education and technology providers to implement secure encrypted technology which can process overseas students’ renewal visa and permit applications quickly and efficiently,” said Mr Baker.

The new service means overseas students from these institutions should no longer need to visit an NZIS office and those approved will receive their student permits within 48 hours.

“They are also able to offer eligible students Length of Course permits, which allow students to remain in New Zealand for the full duration of their chosen course. This saves students time and money, because they no longer need to renew their permit twice a year, as they previously did.”

NZIS was now looking at extending online services to secondary, intermediate and primary schools. “Over time, NZIS plan to put all immigration services online to help make our customers’ lives as simple as possible.”


ENDS

1. What is Students Online?

2. When was Students Online piloted?

3. Who piloted Students Online?

4. When was Students Online launched?

5. Why has the government implemented Students Online?

6. Why is Students Online only available to students renewing permits?

7. Which Education Providers is it available through?

8. Why is the Students Online system only available through specific Education Providers?

9. How did NZIS I select these Education Providers?

10. What are the benefits of Students Online for the Student?

11. What are the benefits of Students Online for the Education Providers?

12. How long will it take a student to receive their permit?

13. In which cases may the Student be referred to a NZIS branch?

14. How do Students go about applying through these Institutions?

15. How do Students receive their permits?

16. Are there any students who can’t apply through Students Online?

17. What security features does the Students Online system provide to protect the privacy of Students?

18. How does NZIS know that applicants are genuine students?

19. What is the Institutions role in Students Online?

20. What is a Length of course permit?

21. What did it cost to implement Students Online?

22. How many permit applications is Students Online expected to process?

23. Which technology companies have been involved in the development of Students Online?

24. What has SIMPLs role been in the development of Students Online?

1. What is Students Online?

Students Online is a system that has been developed by the New Zealand Immigration Service to process renewals of student permit applications.

2. When was Students Online piloted?

Back in June 2003

3. Who piloted Students Online?

Lincoln Univeristy and the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT)

4. When was Students Online launched?

The system went live on 15 December with Lincoln Univeristy and the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) and UNITEC.

5. Why have the Government and NZIS implemented Students Online?

• The Government and NZIS recognise the importance of overseas students to the New Zealand economy.

• NZIS wants to adopt a customised service approach across all aspects of the business.

• NZIS wants to provide students with an enhanced level of service.

• NZIS wants to foster partnerships with key stakeholders in the International Education Sector.

• NZIS wants to reduce queues at Immigration branches.

6. Why is Students Online only available to students renewing existing visa and permits?

Despite the objective of providing the best possible service to overseas Students, NZIS still has a responsibility to New Zealand to manage the risk of people entering New Zealand on a temporary basis. The system can only safely allow for renewal applications at this point in time.

7. Which Education Providers is Students Online available through?

Currently it is only available through:

• Lincoln Univeristy

• Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT)

• UNITEC

• AUT

• Waikato Univesity

• Victoria University

Eventually we hope to be able to extend this or a similar service to all schools throughout New Zealand.

8. Why is the Students Online system only available through specific Education Providers?

When developing any new system it is critical to ensure that everything is working 100% before major roll-out programmes are applied. The education providers were required to make changes to the way in which they enrolled students, so they too had to be willing to participate in this programme.

9. How did NZIS select these Education Providers?

NZIS approached New Zealand’s largest Universities and Polytechnics based on the premise that they have the highest number of overseas students attending their institutions.

10. What are the benefits of Students Online for the Student?

• The Tertiary Institution will reduce the hassle factor for the student.

• Students will no longer need queue at a NZIS branch to see an Immigration Officer.

• The Tertiary Institution will manage the application process for the student.

• The Tertiary Institution can answer most of the students questions on Campus.

• Students receive a 48-hour approval turn around.

• The Institutes provide students with integrated support and pastoral care

• Partnered Institutes are the only education providers entitled to provide Length of Course

11. What are the benefits of Students Online for the Education Providers?

• The Education Provider manages the entire student relationship

• The Education Provider is able to provide added value to their students

• The system helps Education Providers comply with the Ministry of Educations code of practice.

• No physical paper passes between NZIS and the Institute

12. How long will it take a student to receive their permit?

Assuming that the student’s applications details are all in order they should receive the renewal of their permit within 48 hours. In some cases, students may be referred to their local immigration branch.

13. In which cases may the Student be referred to a NZIS branch?

Referrals may occur for the following reasons:

• Where the student is required to undergo Medical and Character Checks

• Where the student’s passport is due to expire within 3 months after the calculated expiry date of the student permit

• Where previous applications have been declined

• Where the student is not on a valid student permit or visa

• Where further investigation is required

14. How do Students go about applying through these Institutions?

They simply go and visit or call the International Student Centre or Office of their Institute to complete their application.

15. How do Students receive their permits?

The Education Providers receives the visa labels and sticks them in the student’s passport. An electronic record of the permit details is retained by NZIS.

16. Are there any students who can’t apply through Students Online?

Yes. Those who:

• Do not already hold a student visa or permit.

• Only hold a limited purpose visa or permit.

• Do not meet academic enrolment requirements at your Tertiary Institution.

17. What security features does the Students Online system provide to protect the privacy of Students?

The system uses encryption technology to protect the student’s information that is transferred between the Institutes and NZIS.

18. How does NZIS know that applicants are genuine students?

The process is one of a trusted partnership with Educational Institutes. They decide to enrol the student based on their enrolment criteria and policies.

Institutes provide information to NZIS for a renewal of the student permit and visa.

Applications are sent in bulk by the Institutes to the NZIS eBranch for processing.

Applications are assessed and a decision is made once all information is taken into consideration by a warranted Immigration Officer.

19. What is the Institutions role in Students Online?

• The Institution takes responsibility for applying for the renewal of the student permit.

• The Institution helps the student to complete the application forms correctly.

• The Institution sticks the visa label in the students passport should their application be approved or, in rare cases, advises the student if their application has been referred to a NZIS branch.

20. What is a Length of Course permit?

A length of course permit entitles the student to remain in New Zealand for the entire duration of their course, paying just the one permit fee. Ideal for two year plus courses. This permit is not available to everyone, and can only be applied for through Students Online.

21. What did it cost to implement Students Online?

The government budgeted $330,000 for the implementation of Students online in the 2003/04 financial year. Students online has been delivered within budget.

22. How many permit applications is Students Online expected to process?

We are expecting to process 9,500 applications through to June 2004. Over the next three to four years we’re expecting this to increase to 20,000 to 30,000 applications annually.

22. Which technology companies have been involved in the development of Students Online?

EDS

23. What has SIMPLs role been in the development of Students Online?

SIMPL’s project management team has provided instrumental project management expertise and knowledge for Students Online.


ENDS

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