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Minister at odds with Govt’s students policy

Pansy Wong
National Party International Education Spokeswoman

23 November 2005

Minister at odds with Govt’s students policy

National’s International Education spokeswoman, Pansy Wong, says international student numbers can be expected to continue falling if it is left up to Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters to try to attract more Chinese students.

“In July this year the Immigration Department made substantial changes to its policy on international students, which included the introduction of a six-month open work visa for graduates who will be able to gain points under the skilled migrant category.

“I believe it was an 11% drop in the number of student visas issued that prompted these changes,” says Mrs Wong.

“The then Immigration Minister, Paul Swain, when announcing the changes said: ‘The changes better align student immigration policy with the Government’s international education strategy, as well as making sure that New Zealand remains competitive in the market for students, many of who make excellent candidates under the Skilled Migrant category’.

“However, during Apec, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said New Zealand could boost Chinese student numbers if the Government honoured the deal he brokered to send these students home upon completion of their studies” says Mrs Wong.

“This is glaringly at odds with Labour’s student immigration policy and shows just how out of touch he is with his Government.

“This contradiction further diminishes New Zealand’s reputation as an export education provider and does nothing to attract students,” Mrs Wong says.

ENDS

Press Release - 'Changes to international student policy':
http://www.beehive.govt.nz/Portfolio.aspx?PortfolioID=45 (page 2)

Peters statement to NZ Herald November 15:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/print.cfm?c_id=35&objectid=10355272

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