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2005 Student (Immigration) Policy Review

Education New Zealand Summary of Key Industry Considerations for 2005 Student (Immigration) Policy Review

Saturday January 22nd

Introduction: Immigration Policy and Practice – critical success factor

At the present time, the export education industry is dominated by the recruitment of students to New Zealand (compared with other modes of supply such as offshore commercial presence and cross-border delivery such as e-learning). In this context, New Zealand immigration policy and practice is one of the most critical areas of government intervention that impacts upon the Industry.

As an input to the 2005 Review of Student Immigration Policy, Education New Zealand has summarised the factors that we see as most important to international educators. Our set of issues focus on those areas where New Zealand’s immigration strategy, policy and practice appears to differ significantly from that in other countries that are direct competitors with New Zealand for international students.

Work Rights for International Students

New Zealand is at a significant competitive disadvantage relative to its overseas competitors on the issue of work rights for international students. As a result of the work policy, New Zealand is missing out on recruiting top quality international students in many markets. Not all students want to work whilst they are studying, but for many the possibility of doing so is a reassurance if they ever need to. In addition, some students are drawn into ‘black market’ type labour, which is detrimental to both them and other workers.

Other countries have grappled with this issue, and both Australia and the United Kingdom permit up to 20 hours per week during the term, and unlimited hours during recognised vacation periods. This compares with New Zealand where work rights are generally limited to 15 hours per week for degree and diploma students on courses of 2 years or more.

Careful thought to labour displacement issues, but we are confident that these would be more than outweighed by the benefits to the New Zealand economy from increased demand. Extensive research around this issue in Australia has concluded that there are more job opportunities created by increased international education activity than are potentially displaced by working students. The current tight labour market gives further impetus to moving towards a policy in line with that of Australia. Opportunities for students to move on to work and residence The education export industry has the potential to become a significant contributor to the human capital development of New Zealand, because some of the students coming to study in New Zealand have Permanent Residency and employment within the country in mind. However, there does not appear to be a clear and transparent pathway from study to permanent residency, and this may impact on student decisions. Students that have showed a commitment to study and been successful in their endeavours would seem to have displayed many favourable characteristics with respect to work and residency including familiarity with the country and language and are likely to have many of their best years ahead of them. Furthermore New Zealand is gaining an educated/skilled migrant without having to subsidise the cost of their education.

Network of locations

Because of our small size, there is a limit to the number of international locations which New Zealand maintains to accept and process applications. One solution to this appears to be greater use of an on-line service.

Timely processing of applications

New Zealand needs to introduce an explicit and transparent organisational commitment to the efficient and timely processing of applications similar to other competitor countries. Students appreciate that processes can take time, but up front objectives give them confidence as to the likely timing of a decision.

Electronic presence

Good progress has been made with online renewals. There are a number of other electronic initiatives that will help to deliver efficient processing.

Medial Vetting by Panel Doctors

There is a limited availability of panel doctors in some markets. More information and procedural sharing with other countries that have similar requirements, and a continual reassessment of extra or alternative ways of compliance are ways to improve the process.


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