Dunedin needs immigration office: Garey

Christine Garey. Photo: supplied
Christine Garey. Photo: supplied
Dunedin needs an immigration office to handle international students’ Covid-related issues, a Dunedin city councillor says.

Speaking at a meeting of the economic development committee on Monday, Cr Christine Garey said before the pandemic the city had 5000 international students, who needed assistance.

"It is extraordinary to me that we do not even have a pop-up immigration office,’’ she said.

International students had experienced complicated issues during the pandemic such as repatriation and these were difficult to deal with over the telephone.

The comments came as councillors received an update on immigration pressures facing international students from Study Dunedin co-ordinator Margo Reid.

International pupils attending secondary school in particular were in the dark about the Government’s plans for the sector, she said.

The Government was working on new policy and immigration settings that would give more clarity, but these would not be available until later this year.

Pupils were having to make decisions about whether to return home not knowing whether they would be able to return in the future.

Some secondary pupils had been away from their home countries and families for two years, which was tough for homesick young people, Mrs Reid said.

Study Dunedin had applied for funding through Education New Zealand to work on a pathway for international students from secondary school to tertiary study and potentially into the workforce.

Such a pathway would help the education sector rebound from Covid 19 and make our educational institutions more attractive to young people overseas, she said.



think outside the square, if a student has been away from their family for that long then maybe the need the support of a sponsored family in Dunedin of course the family would / should need to be vetted to secure they were not idiots.



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