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### Steady Rise in Foreign Enrollments in New Zealand Signals Prolonged Recovery Journey

While every study abroad destination faced the economic impact of losing international students during the pandemic, New Zealand stands out as a compelling case study due to its prolonged border closure. Unlike Canada, the UK, the US, and even Australia, New Zealand kept its borders closed from March 2020 until the end of July 2022.

The extended closure of New Zealand’s borders led to a significant decline in prospective international students’ interest. Many students, weary of waiting, opted for alternative destinations out of necessity. Recent analysis indicates that this situation resulted in more than a 50% decrease in the value of New Zealand’s higher education sector between 2019 and 2022.

In 2019, the direct value of New Zealand’s international education sector was NZ\(3.9 billion (US\)2.4 billion), supporting 6,000 jobs. By 2022, amidst the border closure, the sector’s value plummeted to NZ\(800 million (US\)488 million), significantly impacting the overall economy.

Education New Zealand (ENZ) commissioned EY to conduct a study on the sector. The research revealed a stark contrast in the sector’s performance between 2019 and 2022. The report also outlined the actual international enrollments by education sector in 2019 and estimated figures for 2022.

Despite these challenges, there is optimism for the sector’s recovery. EY predicts that by 2030, New Zealand’s international education sector could regain its pre-pandemic strength in terms of enrollments and value. Recent data indicates a steady recovery in international student enrollments from 2022 to 2023.

The top student source markets for New Zealand remain China, India, and Japan, with the majority of international students enrolled in universities. The government’s support for the sector’s revival is evident, with efforts to attract more international students and enhance the overall educational experience.

ENZ’s survey of international students in 2023 revealed high satisfaction levels, with 84% expressing positivity about their experience and 83% willing to recommend New Zealand as a study destination. Additionally, domestic surveys show a growing recognition of the benefits international students bring to New Zealand, both economically and culturally.

Despite challenges such as infrastructure concerns, the overall sentiment is positive towards international students contributing to New Zealand’s economy and cultural diversity. The future outlook for the international education sector in New Zealand appears promising, with efforts underway to rebuild and strengthen the industry.