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New Zealand Student Visa being Exploited for Residency

January 2018, 29
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The new permanent residents of New Zealand are comparatively less skilled than they were five years ago. Official documents show that the reason is - a few international students have exploited the student visa scheme. This assessment was made by the officials of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which advises ministers regarding the force of changes, which the Labour government intends to make, for removing back-door residence meant for students who wish to study, and settle, in the country.

The Students are allowed to work in New Zealand on completion of their studies. This provision has permitted persons who otherwise would not have qualified to obtain permanent residence, as per the documents of the Official Information Act Officials.

Such regulations became a factor leading to the steady decline in the average skill levels of fresh permanent migrants during the past five years.

Indian Students are likely to become residents because they are more driven by the vision of migration than receiving an excellent education.

There was a warning that the students work full or part-time which leads to displacement of local labour and curbing wages.

In 2013, the government had relaxed standards to be obtained in proficiency for the English language, which increased the number of Indian students from 8000 in 2013, to over 19,000 in 2015.

There were strict standards in succeeding years, and after this, the numbers declined to 16,000 in 2017.

At present, the government plans to reduce the number of global students who can pursue work to the category of students in a degree, or equivalent level.

Data reveals that 12,000 students who obtained an 'open post-study visa' in 2017, which led to a residence, would not have materialized if the proposed new rules were in force.

The documents present the risks of an action on student visas like reduced money for the global education sectors, an uncertain future for tertiary institutions, which could create a short-term labour shortage and damage international relations.

Ian Lees-Galloway, the Immigration Minister said it this issue concerned him when he was in opposition and has the same worry when he is a minister. He said that there are a few persons who study in New Zealand and obtain points leading to residency which helps them to achieve residency which otherwise would not have been possible owing to their skill level.

Simon Bridges, the immigration spokesperson, defended the measures of the government in handling the visa scheme. He said that this was a quality sector, which provided billions of dollars to the country. It is a sector requiring the government to be very careful before interfering with it and jeopardizing a sum of $3 or $4 billion.

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