New Residency Pathway Excludes Upcoming International Graduates

New Residency Pathway Excludes Upcoming International Graduates

165,000 residence visas set to open, but internationals about to graduate will just miss the cutoff

International students about to graduate from the Uni will just miss the deadline for an exciting new residency visa application. Those who graduated before September 29 2021 will be eligible.

Many international students began a degree this year as a means of staying in New Zealand. Upon completion they will be eligible for a Post-Study Work Visa, one of several visa types that are eligible to apply for this new residency visa. However, they would need to possess this visa before the 29 September to be eligible for the new visa. That means anyone about to receive their qualification and apply for a Post-Study will be ineligible for this new scheme. They will have just missed the cut-off by a little more than a month.

To meet the criteria, applicants must either have been here for about three years, make over $27 per hour, or work in a position on the jobs shortages list, in addition to possessing one of several work visas. But even if they met all three criteria, students currently studying will not be eligible because they did not possess the Post-Study visa on 29 September.

“It just feels like a slap in the face,” said Dan*, an international student who has been here since 2018. “I’ve done my whole degree here. I’m set to graduate in a month and apply for the Post-Study, and feel like I’m exactly the type of person that this was intended to help, but I’ve just missed the cut-off. It sucks.”

He went on to say “don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked to hear the news and stoked for the students who will benefit from it, my timing just sucked.” Any international student who graduated at any point before 29 September will likely be eligible. “I wonder if they designed it to purposefully exclude the people that did a panic masters,” said Dan. “I bet they did. And I get that. But it sucks because it also excludes any of us that have been here for years and just happen to be graduating at the same time.”

Keegan, another international about to graduate, said that: “I feel that it’s a bit unfair to all the students who have been here for three to four years and have decided to stay and help as best we can. We could’ve gone home, but we stayed. I feel like this new visa is designed to support people who were here through Covid and who helped out, and this seems counterproductive in a way. Like, ‘oh, just because you weren’t working at this specific time means we aren’t going to favour you.’”

Tajsha, who graduated last year and is now working as an occupational therapist, is eligible for the new visa. When we spoke to her, she said: “Oh my God, I can become a resident? Holy shit! Incredible!” However, she said that the fact that the upcoming graduate class won’t be eligible is “kinda bullshit. Actually, total bullshit. [they’re] already here, they’ve been here this long, why would they not be included? Why not just make the cut-off date the end of the year? That’s rubbish.” She expressed her condolences for those who missed the boat, but said that she was off to Google the application right away. “I’ve got to get a spot!”

Applications for the new visa open in late December. 

This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2021.
Posted 3:33pm Friday 1st October 2021 by Fox Meyer.