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Student Loan Scheme Is Not Causing A "Brain Drain'

Hon Max Bradford
Minister for Tertiary Education

11 August, 1999

MEDIA RELEASE

The Student Loan Scheme is not forcing students overseas and causing a "brain drain", Minister for Tertiary Education Max Bradford says.

"Available immigration data shows no apparent trend in highly skilled people leaving our country; and professional occupations have been static at around 25% of all departures since 1990, Mr Bradford said.

The New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee and MORST Report (1997) on New Zealand graduate destinations indicated that:
· 75% of Diploma/Bachelor graduates travelled overseas in the first five years after graduation. However, almost all came back (97%) within the survey period (1991-1996); and
· 78% of postgraduates travelled overseas but again only a very small percentage (2.5%) remained overseas for the full five years.

"I am not sure where Steve Maharey gets his misinformation from, but these statistics show what most of us already know, young New Zealanders have been going overseas to earn better money for years. This is not a new phenomenon," Mr Bradford said.
"The experience graduates gain while abroad is often highly valued by employers when they return to New Zealand.
"However, it is a concern that there are not the high quality jobs here to retain many of our graduates.

"This issue is one the Government is looking at through the 5 Steps Ahead programme. The 5 Steps Ahead policy package will be announced next week."

Mr Bradford said high taxes and an industry policy that stifles innovation would cause a "brain drain", not the student loan scheme.

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