International student fees - specific issues

Agents' fees

Fee protection includes agents' fees. The amount of fees to be put in trust is generally the amount receipted by the PTE and advised to Immigration New Zealand. This amount will be the greater of:

  • the amount paid by the student to the PTE
  • the amount paid by the student to an agent (if the student paid the PTE via an agent), or
  • the recommended retail price for the course (as long as it is not less than the amount paid by the agent or student to the PTE).

The recommended retail price may be more than the amount paid by the agent to the PTE. In that case, the PTE must top up the amount deposited into the trust account to ensure the recommended amount is in trust. The student must be advised of the amount covered. A supplementary, second trust arrangement can be used for this purpose.

Homestay/accommodation fees

Homestay fees are also required to be protected. The mechanism used to protect these fees must be either a standard trust or a static trust.

A bank bond trust cannot be used to protect homestay/accommodation fees.

Fees can be drawn down up to one month in advance, with the students consent.

Where the student chooses not to remain in the accommodation, the fee can be refunded directly to the student, provided they are over 18 years of age. Where a PTE uses an accommodation company owned or controlled by the PTE, these fees must also be protected.

Living expenses

Monies paid to the PTE to be used by the students as living expenses are also required to be protected. The mechanism used to protect these fees must be either a standard trust or a static trust.

A bank bond trust cannot be used to protect living expenses.

Living expenses can be released directly to the student or drawn down by the PTE on behalf of the student in equal instalments as required.

All fees paid to the PTE by the trustee must be paid immediately to the student.

Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students

Both NZQA's registration policies and criteria and the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students require protection of student fees. The NZQA requirement relates to PTEs, whereas the Code of Practice relates to all providers delivering to international students. Therefore, the code applies to schools, polytechnics and universities as well as PTEs. NZQA requirements are more specific than Code of Practice requirements. Under an agreement with the Code of Practice administrator, PTEs that deliver courses to international students can meet the code's requirements by obtaining NZQA approval.

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