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No room for complacency despite success

No room for complacency despite success in attracting and retaining international students


Education New Zealand: Media Release 24/10/07

“New research shows that New Zealand is relatively successful in attracting and retaining international students but the industry and Government can not afford to be complacent. We need to ensure that we continue to improve our performance in this area,” says Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand.

Robert Stevens was commenting on today’s release of the research report ‘International students: Studying and staying on in New Zealand’. The report, written by research analyst Paul Merwood from the Department of Labour, was co-sponsored by Education New Zealand and the Department of Labour.

“The report examined the education pathways of international students and identified the most common transitions from study to work or permanent residence in New Zealand,” says Robert Stevens. “The report is useful body of work which will help institutions and agencies better understand the transition pathways of international students and develop the opportunities to retain students for further study and/or further engagement with New Zealand via work and/or residency.”

Highlights of the report include:
• Two-thirds of the students studied in one educational sector with school being the most common
• One third studied in multiple sectors with English language followed by tertiary study the most common pathway
• English language was the most common study sector overall
• Over half the students in the analysis began their study in Auckland
• 27% of international students transitioned to work and/or residence
• Younger students (16 and under) had a higher transition rate than older students
• Chinese and South Korean students had relatively high rates of transition (32%), and the majority gained residence through the Skilled/Business Stream
• Students from Japan and the USA had a lesser tendency to gain residence (10% and 10% respectively), and a relatively high proportion were approved through the Family Sponsored Stream
• Most students who transitioned to work or residence stayed on in New Zealand, while a relatively small proportion (18%) left New Zealand permanently.

“Overall, the research shows that New Zealand is relatively successful in attracting and retaining international students but that the pathways to work and residence can be complex, and encompass many points of transition” says Robert Stevens. “The report recommends that these transition points offer opportunities for educational institutions, government, and other service providers to facilitate further engagement. This will help towards the best outcomes for both students and New Zealand.”

“The report also demonstrates there is no room for complacency. Australia (for example) has introduced a number of immigration polices that have a direct link between study and residence that will have a positive impact on their ability to attract and retain international students – and other countries are doing likewise” says Robert Stevens. “Student immigration policy changes in New Zealand in both 2005 and as announced today are important steps in maintaining a competitive edge with other countries, but it is always a ‘work in progress’. Education New Zealand will continue to monitor, research and advocate strongly on student immigration policy to ensure that we are and remain competitive.”

ENDS

• For access to the full report, go to http://www.educationnz.org.nz/policy/InternationalStudentPathways.pdf

For more information about this statement, or the report, contact:

Robert Stevens
Chief Executive, Education New Zealand

TEL: 04-917-0531

Stuart Boag
Communications Director, Education New Zealand

TEL: 04-917-0539
CELL: 027-664-6092
E-MAIL: stuart.boag@educationnz.org.nz
SUMMARY OF KEY OBSERVATIONS (as noted in the Report)

Research objectives
The specific objectives of the research are to undertake an analysis of administrative data to:
 identify the most common educational pathways of international students and the characteristics of students who take those pathways
 identify the most common pathways from study to work or permanent residence in New Zealand
 examine the characteristics of students who transition from study to work or permanent residence in New Zealand.’

Study Pathways
The first analysis in this research is of 94,537 international students who began study in New Zealand between 1999/00 and 2001/02. The analysis shows that two-thirds studied in one educational sector, and one third studied in multiple sectors. Chinese students generally followed multiple sector study pathways, while students from South Korea, Japan and the USA were predominantly single sector.

Fifty-two percent of students studied English language at some point in time, making English language the most common study sector overall. The most common educational sector for single sector students was school (42%), followed by English language studies (35%), and university (14%). The most common study pathway for multiple sector students was English language followed by tertiary study (37%).

Over half the students in this analysis began their study in Auckland. Chinese and South Korean students were more likely to study in Auckland compared to students from Japan and the USA. School and English language students were heavily concentrated in Auckland, and tertiary students more spread throughout New Zealand.

Transition to work and residence
The links between study, work, and residence were examined for 47,418 students who began their study in 1999/00 and 2000/01, over a period of 57 months. Within that period, 27% of students transitioned to work or residence. Fifteen percent transitioned directly from study to residence, 6% transitioned from study to work and residence, and 6% transitioned from study to work (but not residence). Students whose study pathway included both English language and tertiary studies had the highest transition rate overall – 30% made the transition to work and/or residence.

Younger students (16 and under) had a higher transition rate (30%) than older students (25%), and many transitioned to residence directly from school. The majority of students who gained residence were approved through the Skilled/Business Stream, regardless of their age and study pathway.

Chinese and South Korean students had relatively high rates of transition (32%), and the majority gained residence through the Skilled/Business Stream. Students from Japan (10%) and the USA had a lesser tendency to gain residence (10% and 10% respectively), and a relatively high proportion of those who did were approved through the Family Sponsored Stream.

Staying on in New Zealand
Most students who transitioned to work or residence stayed on in New Zealand, while a relatively small proportion (18%) left New Zealand permanently. Those who gained residence were more likely to stay on in the country, compared to those who transitioned to work (but not residence).

Conclusions
The research shows that New Zealand is relatively successful in attracting and retaining international students. The research also shows that the pathways to work and residence can be complex, and encompass many points of transition. These transition points (changing course providers, shifting location, getting accommodation, looking for working, trying to meet the requirements of a specific immigration policy) offer opportunities for educational institutions, government, and other service providers to ensure that in negotiating these transitions, international students achieve the best possible outcomes for themselves and for New Zealand.

Comparative data shows the proportion of international students who remain in New Zealand to work or gain permanent residence is broadly comparable to Australia and Canada. However, Australia has introduced a number of immigration polices that have a direct link between study and residence, which will have a positive impact on their ability to attract and retain international students.

The full report is now available on the Education New Zealand website: http://www.educationnz.org.nz/policy/InternationalStudentPathways.pdf

ends

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