News centre

Update on Pathway Student Visa Pilot Tuesday, 26 November 2019

The Pathway Student Visa will become permanent from January 2021 and the pilot project will continue until then.

About the Pathway Student Visa pilot

The Pathway Student Visa pilot was introduced in December 2015 to enable international students to study up to 3 consecutive courses on a single student visa for up to 5 years. The visa is only available for study with approved education providers and for some courses of study.

Pathway education providers

The Pathway Student Visa pilot will continue until January 2021 when it will become a permanent visa category.

Changes to the Pathway Student Visa in 2021

We are making 2 changes to the Pathway Student Visa when it becomes permanent in January 2021.

  1. Education providers will only be able to qualify to be a Pathway education provider if we approve at least 80% of the applications we receive from offshore students intending to study with them.
  2. We will update restrictions around study pathways that start with English language study so they are consistent with the English language requirements for international students set out in the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018.

NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018

All other criteria in the pilot will remain the same.

How the changes affect pathway education providers

No new education providers can become part of the scheme while the pilot continues.

Before the Pathway Student Visa becomes permanent in 2021, we will provide further information about how:

  • education providers can qualify to become Pathway education providers
  • current Pathway education providers can leave the scheme if they no longer meet the criteria.

We will also develop assurance processes to check that Pathway providers are meeting their obligations and share these with international education stakeholders.

Pathway Student Visa holders

If you already hold a Pathway Student Visa the changes do not affect you. The conditions of your visa stay the same.

If you have submitted an application for a Pathway Student Visa it will be processed as usual.

Pathway Student Visa