Immigration relaxes entry rules for child students

NZ Herald Jul 26, 2010 

Children as young as 5 could come to New Zealand to study for up to three months each year on a visitor’s permit, under immigration policy changes taking effect today. Immigration NZ has announced several amendments to policy, including one that would enable visitor’s permit holders in Years 1-13, which the agency says is usually between 5 and 18 years, to study for a single period of up to three months per calendar year in non-consecutive school terms. Department head Nigel Bickle said these children could also come to New Zealand without their parents or legal guardians because the policy had no guardian requirements. But while immigration rules allow 5-year-olds to study here without their parents, Ministry of Education rules prevent them from being enrolled.

The Ministry of Education’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students restricts any signatories from enrolling anyone under the age of 10, and under the revised immigration rules, all students wanting to study longer than two weeks will need to be enrolled in schools which have signed the code. Ministry spokesman Joss Debreceny said that, under the code, students under the age of 13 must live with their parent or legal guardian while studying here. The code had undergone a revision, and now schools could enrol young international students between 10 and 13 as group students if they came to New Zealand without their parents.