International students come here to stay

Iain Lees-Galloway

Wellington, June 13, 2017

Most international students in New Zealand at PTEs (private training establishments) who have a plan for themselves after study intend to stay in New Zealand to work. This shows how low-level education has become a backdoor immigration route under National.

Majority plan residence

According to the 2016 ‘International Student Barometer,’ of the 72% of international students who have a plan for after their course of study, 41% plan to stay in New Zealand. That is up from 35% in 2014,

In comparison, just 22% of international students in other countries plan to stay in those countries after study. About 89% of international students say opportunities for long-term employment or residence where a factor in coming to study in New Zealand, compared to 79% in other countries.

Infrastructure Support

New Zealand is built on immigration and immigrants enrich our society. National has taken its eye off the ball and failed to invest in the infrastructure to support rapid population growth driven by record immigration.

It is time to take a breather and re-balance the immigration settings while fixing National’s infrastructure deficit.

Our international education sector should be about delivering quality education and exporting that to the world. Instead, part of the sector has become little more than a vehicle for people to gain a backdoor to live in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, most international students at PTEs are planning to stay here after study. That is not the case in other countries.

National’s reforms to allow more international students to work have opened this backdoor route that has encouraged the creation of sham courses and an explosion in the number of people using them as a step to residency.

Damaged image

New Zealand’s international reputation has been damaged by the stories of people who have taken this route into New Zealand, only to be exploited by unscrupulous agents and employers.

PTEs that offer a high quality education will thrive under Labour. Refocusing our international education sector on high quality courses will improve our international reputation and support the growth of high value education.

Closing off the ability to work during and after study for people who do low-level courses will stop backdoor immigration. This will end the culture of exploitation and corruption that’s grown up to prey on people using this route to come to New Zealand.

It is time for a fresh approach on immigration so we get the balance right.

Iain Lees-Galloway is an elected Member of Parliament from Palmerston North and Labour Party’s Immigration Spokesman. The above is a part of the Immigration Policy announced by Labour Party Leader Andrew Little yesterday Picture) (June 12, 2017)

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