These questions and answers are about changes to immigration health screening which take effect on 30 July 2012 and will affect all foreign fee paying students (excluding PhD and New Zealand Aid Programme-supported students).
An acceptable insurance policy is one which complies with the insurance requirements of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) and is acceptable to a student’s education provider.
No. You will be required to complete a declaration in the Student Visa Application PDF [912KB] form stating that you:
Many students arrange their insurance policy through their education provider and the insurance policy is often not obtained until the student has arrived in New Zealand and the enrolment process has been completed. Therefore Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is allowing students to hold insurance from the date that they finalise the enrolment process with their education provider, rather than the date that their visa is granted. In many cases this will be the day you attend your provider and confirm your enrolment information in person.
In other cases, your enrolment process might be completed before you leave home and you might already be covered – if that is the case and you are covered before you arrive in NZ then you have exceeded our expectations. At the minimum you must hold acceptable insurance from the day you first attend your provider and finalise your study plans. You are then required to hold acceptable insurance until the expiry of your visa, unless you depart New Zealand earlier.
In this case you will be responsible for arranging an extension of your insurance policy to cover the remainder of any time that you spend in New Zealand after your course ends. You can do this at any stage before your insurance policy expires – as long as your insurer allows this. For example, you might finish studying in November and the insurance arranged through your provider may expire at the same time. In October, however, you decide that you will stay on after finishing your studies for a month or two on your student visa. You should then arrange extra insurance to cover you for those months. Some education providers might help you arrange the extra cover.
You may be required to show evidence that you have arranged extra insurance coverage if you apply for a further visa and if you have not, it will be considered that you have breached the conditions of your visa.
New Zealand Aid Programme-supported students are eligible for publicly-funded health care under the Ministry of Health’s Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011. This means that INZ’s health screening requirements will remain in place for New Zealand Aid Programme-supported students.
Domestic students (including PhD students) are not covered by the Code and are therefore not required to hold insurance by the Code. Domestic students will need to continue providing medical and chest X-ray certificates. Domestic students will benefit from the validity of medical and chest X-ray certificates being extended from 24 to 36 months as of 30 July 2012.
You may be required to provide a medical and/or chest X-ray certificate if:
I will arrange the extra insurance to cover me while I am in New Zealand on my student visa, but what happens if I have to depart New Zealand early? I won’t need the insurance then – do I get a refund on any premiums?
The issue of refunds will be between you and your insurance company. We suggest that you find out that type of information in the beginning so that you are well prepared.
No, INZ will not be requiring you to arrange and hold insurance because this new requirement came into effect after your current visa was granted. However, you will still need to meet the insurance rules set by your education provider under the Code. Your provider will know what these are.
No, you will not be exempt as this change only applies to foreign fee-paying student visa applicants. As you will be applying for a work visa, you will be required to provide medical and chest X-ray certificates. However, once you provide these certificates they will be valid for 36 months, instead of 24 months.
Talk to your education provider in the first instance, they have had to make sure that their students hold insurance for a number of years now under the Ministry of Education Code guidelines, so they are experienced in this area. While they may not arrange insurance for you, they should know where to send you to get the right information.