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Universities work to help students during travel disruptions

Universities are working closely with New Zealand Government to ensure all international students will be able to successfully carry on with their studies despite the recent restrictions imposed on travel from China.

“Thousands of students from China are due to start or continue their studies here in the next few weeks,” says Universities New Zealand (UNZ) Chief Executive Chris Whelan.

“Our key concern is ensuring our students can do their studies without any risk to their health or the health of everyone else in our university communities. We know travel plans are already being disrupted by the travel restrictions, and we want to make sure no student has to delay their studies or reorganise their visas. Plans are being put in place to ensure both these things.”

Students from China make up the largest proportion of international students coming to New Zealand (nearly 45%), with about 15,000 expected in the country over the next month. Consequences of delays in enrolments for the universities—as well as for students—are serious.

“As talks with government agencies continue, universities will continue to provide staff and students with up-to-date advice and information.”

Some of the many issues being discussed include:

• getting clear information to all students not yet in New Zealand about what will be done to help them start their studies if the travel restrictions continue the full two weeks or beyond
• ensuring it is easy for students to get answers to their questions at any time
• confirming flexibility with visa conditions for students who have to delay their travel.

“This is a fast-moving situation, and care and concern for our students is paramount for universities. Information on university websites is being kept up-to-date, and universities are contacting students individually to discuss options.

“We understand that this is a frightening and confusing time for our students, and urge any students who have not yet been in touch with their university to check the university’s website for the best way to ensure they can stay in touch.”

Appropriate pages on university websites are linked to below:
University of Auckland
Waikato University
Victoria University of Wellington
Massey University
University of Canterbury
Lincoln University
Otago University

Official updates are posted here:
1. Ministry of Health: Coronavirus information
2. Immigration New Zealand: Coronavirus update
3. Tertiary Education Commission: Coronavirus information
4. Ministry of Education: Novel coronavirus update for tertiary students

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