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Report highlights critical issues

Saturday 22nd January

‘Report highlights critical issues for International Student Visa Policy Review’

Education New Zealand:

‘Student Immigration policy is a critical success factor in the success of international education in New Zealand, and we look forward to rapid and positive improvements as a result of the Government’s current policy review’ says Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand. ‘The industry has very clear views on what can be done to improve policy, we have independent research that sustains those views, and there is sector unanimity that progress is essential’.

Education New Zealand have coordinated and led a cross sectoral reference group that has met with the Department of Labour Policy Review team that is charged with examining existing student immigration policies and recommending changes. The review is happening at a time when many international educators are under pressure with declining numbers and uncertain market prospects.

‘The industry has identified a range of issues that are directly under the control of Government, and which act as constraints in the market. New Zealand competes on a global market for potential students, and unnecessarily restrictive policies and cumbersome practices can mean the difference between attracting students or having them go elsewhere’ say Robert Stevens. ‘Issues that we have raised with the review team include:

• Workrights for international students; • Pathways to work and residency; • Accessibility; • Timeliness of visa approvals; and • Improved electronic visa processing.

Apart from these specific policy issues, we raised a series of strategic issues that included the way that student immigration policy supports broader Government objectives such as growing an innovative, inclusive and socially cohesive economy.’ ‘To assist Government in addressing these issues, Education New Zealand on behalf of the industry, commissioned a team of highly credible researchers to produce an independent report on the impact of immigration policy on international education.

This report, which we are releasing publicly today (please find as attached document) includes a comprehensive comparative assessment of New Zealand’s policies alongside those of key competitor nations’, said Robert Stevens.

‘The Report makes fascinating reading, and confirms that New Zealand has a number of competitive disadvantages in some immigration policy areas when compared to Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. New Zealand competes directly with these countries, and our ability to compete is severely hampered if opportunities for students are hampered by uncompetitive policies’.

‘We are pleased with the very positive and comprehensive dialogue that we have had with the Review team from the Department of Labour’, said Robert Stevens. ‘At the centre of this lies a $2 billion industry that has contributed immensely to New Zealand’s prosperity. We know that parts of our industry are hurting at present, we know that quick and sensible policy changes around student immigration can help this situation, and we are confident that the Government will react quickly and positively’, concludes Robert Stevens.

ENDS

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