A border exemption has been approved for 1000 international tertiary students who had begun their study in New Zealand but were offshore when border restrictions were put in place due to Covid-19.
They would be allowed into New Zealand from April and would be billed standard costs for managed isolation.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the exemption "delivers on a part of the recovery plan for international education".
"The students will return to New Zealand in phases, beginning with a cohort of 300 that will be able to return from April, with the remaining students returning throughout the year as MIQ availability allows.
"The return of these students will not affect the ability of Kiwis to return home and it is balanced against the requirement for skilled workers to enter the country," he said.
The students must also have an additional $5000 of living costs to support themselves in New Zealand, with the amount required for international students to be granted a visa up to $20,000 from $15,000.
To qualify for the exemption, students must be studying at a bachelor's degree level or above, hold a visa to study in 2020, have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 and be returning to study with their current provider.
"The annual economic value of this group of 1000 degree-level international students is estimated to be roughly $49 million in wider economic contribution, including approximately $27 million in tuition fees," Hipkins said.
It comes after the Government last year granted an exemption for 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand.