Border boost not expected

The easing of border restrictions next year is not expected to have a significant impact on the University of Otago’s markedly depleted international student numbers.

The Government recently announced a staggered relaxation of border rules and the effective end of managed isolation.

From January 17, fully vaccinated New Zealanders will be able to travel from Australia without having to go through managed isolation. They will need to isolate at home for seven days instead.

From February 13, fully vaccinated New Zealanders can travel from all but very high risk countries, and from the end of April, all other fully vaccinated travellers can come into the country.

Yesterday university international director Jason Cushen said the university welcomed the announcement, but it was unclear what it would mean for individual students and was awaiting further advice from the Government.

"At this stage the university has factored in a modest number (less than 50) commencing international students arriving on-campus for semester 2 2022, and that remains our expectation.

"Overall, we have budgeted for fewer than 1000 equivalent full time full fee-paying international students in 2022."

International student numbers were budgeted to be 52.7% of what they were in 2019, representing a decline in tuition income of $16.4million since then.

The Government had made provisions for international students to access a My Vaccine Pass, and there was information on the Covid-19 website about the application process.

"In addition, International Student Support will be working with, and assisting, our current international student cohort through this process."

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