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NZ Sees Solid Growth in International Students

NZ Sees Solid Growth in International Students

Education New Zealand: Media Release 24/11/08

In an atmosphere of almost unanimously bad financial news, New Zealand’s education exporters have something to celebrate. An analysis of the numbers of overseas students coming to New Zealand over the past three years shows an upward trend from almost every source country.

This industry isn’t immune to global economics. Education New Zealand CEO Robert Stevens remains cautiously optimistic about maintaining the current upward trend.

“Education New Zealand is concerned about the outlook for education exporters. However while we do have concerns, unlike other industry leaders, we do not believe that the economic situation will torpedo the industry.” says Robert Stevens.

The chart below compares the first time student visas for fee paying students approved over the same four month period for each year from selected markets (the NZIS reporting year is July – June). For comparison, the aggregate data for all markets is included.

Note that each market performs differently in terms of student flows. Some are more evenly distributed throughout the year, whilst others come in bands. Overall, the first four months of the 07/08 reporting year included 23% of the eventual year total, and the corresponding figure for the 06/07 year was 21.7%.

Note also that this data does not include short term students that do not require a student visa.

Students from 1st July - 1st Nov 2006 1st July - 1st Nov 2007 1st July - 1st Nov 2008 Comparison % first 4 months: 06 - 08
China 681 1009 1312 +93%
Korea 1568 1439 1754 +12%
Japan 361 323 378 +5%
Thailand 194 194 206 +6%
Taiwan 270 280 212 -27%
Hong Kong 66 94 150 +127%
Malaysia 81 115 148 +83%
Vietnam 53 126 191 +260%
India 268 820 1314 +390%
Indonesia 41 38 48 +17%
Germany 266 240 430 +62%
Brazil 209 251 358 +71%
Chile 26 15 39 +50%
Saudi Arabia 75 166 298 +297%
Russia 71 84 120 +70%
USA 118 108 111 -8%
Great Britain 48 56 109 +127%
TOTAL 4396 5358 7178 +63%
All Other 602 797 1023 +70%
Overall Total 4998 6155 8201 +64%

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As can be seen, only two of the identified markets have shown a decrease over the last 2 years – the USA and Taiwan.

The difference in the USA numbers is so small that it is not possible to draw any conclusions at this point as to whether a downward trend is indicated.

Analysis of past Taiwanese data suggests that we would be facing a decline from Taiwan even if overall economic conditions had not altered.

All other identified markets, and the pool of aggregate markets, have shown an increase by comparison with two years ago. This increase has generally been sustained year on year.

It is too early to say whether the market is being affected by the global economic conditions. If there is a major impact, we would anticipate that applications and enrolments currently in the pipeline timed for completion coinciding with the start of the 1st semester of the academic year will be reduced. This will show up in visa data by March 2009.

On the positive side, the current low value of the New Zealand Dollar would ordinarily act as a competitive stimulus in some markets. The extent to which this will offset lower demand cannot yet be gauged.

In conclusion, the last two years have shown good growth in long term students commencing study in New Zealand. Ordinarily, that increase would be expected to be sustained based on the early performance of the 08/09 year. However, education decisions tend to be made overt a longer timeframe and around different criteria than other expenditure decisions and the overall reaction to changing circumstances may not be quite as swift as it could be with other consumer purchases. The next six months should give a more accurate steer as to expectations in the medium term.


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