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Easy New Zealand visas attracts Middle East Students

November 2013, 19
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New Zealand Middle East
Not much to the disappointment of Saudi student Mr Abdul Azeem, his NZ student visa application was accepted without any delay. He was earlier denied visa after applying for one in the United States of America. Mr Abdul claims that his application didn't pass the American screening as he had three different names of his own. He was given a name initially, which his mother changed after running away from an abusive husband, since he didn't like the name his mother named him, he changed it again, totalling his names to three.

Mr Abdul said that as getting a student visa to New Zealand is much easier and cheaper compared to America or Australia, the number of students from Middle East interested to pursue their education in NZ is equally on the rise. He also added that New Zealand seems far friendlier to the Arab students compared to the others.
According to Steven Joyce, Minister of Tertiary Education, the number of students applying for students visa to NZ have shot up from 67 to 7000 over a decade’s time. There were over 2654 student visas for Saudi nationals to NZ issued by Immigration New Zealand in 2012, out of which most of the students like Mr Abdul who lands for short courses such as English language course to be an English teacher, would not require student visas. Last year, compared to India's 17% surge in immigrant student population and China's 11%, Saudi Arabia saw the largest rise by 19% or 431 student visas.
The recent changes in the immigration policy allows temporary visa holders to join any short course not exceeding more than three months without a student visa. For Saudi Arabians, who belongs to the visa-free category, can study even while they are on visitor visa if the same is declared on arrival. They won't have to undergo the usual checks that are applicable for student visas as their primary purpose of visit is tourism.
Mr Zain Ali, Head of Islamic Research in Auckland's University believes that the rise in Saudi students are due to the belief that New Zealand is perceived to be “Muslim friendly”, while compared to other Western Nations. As there are a large number of Muslim families staying in the country, the availability of Halal food and Halal stays and this is also one of the reasons for the migration of Mideast students to NZ, he adds.
Mr Joyce, who was recently in Saudi to promote what NZ has in kitty for Saudi students also said that, he believes that Mideast students would form strong linkable between cultural understanding between both the countries as well as economic development. He also said that, Saudi students in New Zealand would be life long ambassadors for his country. At present, NZ's foreign educational schemes bring in $2.3 Billion and the government plans to double it within a few years to $5 Billion. 

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