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International students in New Zealand must choose whether to stay or leave

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International students in New Zealand are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Thousands of students who are midway through their courses may have to stay in the country over summer break as there are currently no quarantine plans in place when they return to New Zealand from their home countries, reported The PIE News.

To stay would be forgoing seeing their families for the next year or so. NZ International Students’ Association president, Sabrina Alhady told The PIE News they are affected by financial difficulties and employment too.

“International students in genuine financial hardship were eligible to access the International Student Hardship Fund through their education provider, however, we understand that this fund has been fully allocated,” she told The PIE News.

NZISA represents the collective voice among international students studying in the country.

Previously, New Zealand’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson said international students are unlikely to return to New Zealand this year as the country will need time to establish the quarantine facilities needed to let students back in.

New Zealand education minister Chris Hipkins had also said it is unlikely that international students will be allowed to enter this year as COVID-19 is “raging overseas”.

A further announcement is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

“International students are important to New Zealand as we recover and rebuild from COVID-19 and the government will allow them to return when it’s safe to do so,” he said.

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