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More confusion on overseas students policy

Pansy Wong

National Ethnic Affairs Spokesperson

2nd April 2003

More confusion on overseas students policy

The Government's apparent relaxation on rules for foreign fee-paying students shows the ad-hoc and muddled way immigration issues are being handled, says National MP Pansy Wong.

"The New Zealand Immigration service's new rule means that student permits are now granted for the length of a student's course of study, regardless of the period for which they have paid course fees.

"At the same time Australia has tightened its immigration laws to require prospective students to provide better evidence of financial stability. But according to the Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziel, the New Zealand Immigration service has to rely on schools and institutions to enforce the system.

"This decision also goes against Trevor Mallard's tough stand to cap foreign students in schools, despite the extra funding they bring in. Now Lianne Dalziel is making it easier for foreign fee-paying students to stay here longer, without an effective mechanism to ensure financial stability, attendance and performance.

"It seems that with this Labour Government one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.

"Along with the sudden changes in language testing for immigrants last year, it shows the absolute lack of any co-ordination or strategy in the Government's immigration policy.

"The Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziel is continuing with inept policies which have lead to abuse, public outcry and u-turns, to the detriment of overseas students and the public," said Ms Wong.


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