Education: changes to post-study work rights; international education strategy released; varsity enrolment increases
(picture caption: Education Minister Chris Hipkins; courtesy enz.govt.nz)
Post-study work rights to change from November
Last week, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced major changes to post-study work rights, which he claimed will help ensure international students coming to New Zealand gain in-demand skills for the country’s economic growth, incentivise study in the regions and help reduce the risk of student exploitation.
The changes to take effect in November 2018, include:
- remove the employer-assisted post-study work visas at all levels;
- provide a one-year post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications, with an additional year for Graduate Diploma graduates who are working towards registration with a professional or trade body;
- provide a two-year post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications outside Auckland provided study is completed by December 2021. At this point the entitlement for post-study work rights reverts to a one-year post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications with an additional year for Graduate Diploma graduates who are working towards registration with a professional or trade body;
- provide a three-year post-study open work visa for degree Level 7 or above qualifications; and
- require international students studying Level 8 qualifications to be in an area specified on the Long Term Skills Shortage list in order for their partner to be eligible for an open work visa, and in turn for the partners’ dependent children to be eligible for fee-free domestic schooling.
“The grand-parenting provisions that mean that international students who are currently in New Zealand will be better off as a result of these changes. The changes preserve a pathway to residence for people with the skills and qualifications New Zealand needs. The removal of employer-assisted post-study work rights at all levels will help reduce the risk of migrant exploitation, and better protect New Zealand’s international reputation. They also provide time-limited incentives for students to study and work in the regions, boosting regional education providers and supporting our aims to lift regional investment and productivity. New Zealand is a nation that must compete on quality, not quantity. Our changes reinforce New Zealand’s attractiveness for international students and match up positively with our key comparator nations,” the minister was quoted as saying in a press release.
New Zealand International Education Strategy for 2018-2030 released
The New Zealand Education Strategy 2018-2030 was launched at the New Zealand International Education Conference on August 9. It sets out three goals and the key actions needed for agencies to achieve them, as well as measures and indicators of success. These goals are:
- Delivering an excellent education and student experience
- Achieving sustainable growth
- Developing global citizens
The Ministry of Education and Education New Zealand co-developed the strategy with input from a broad range of government agencies, international education stakeholders. These included education providers, international and domestic students, peak bodies and community groups.
Commenting on the new strategy, Ministry of Education Deputy Secretary, Graduate Achievement, Vocations and Careers, Claire Douglas, informed that the strategy replaces the Leadership Statement for International Education and signals a shift in priorities for the sector.
“The strategy shifts its primary focus to lifting the quality of international education and student experience, and maximising the social and cultural benefits in addition to its economic value. It also aims to ensure that the benefits of international education are shared with regions nationwide."
"International students provide us a different world perspective, and contribute to a globally-connected and culturally diverse New Zealand. Bringing international education closer to the regions enables more New Zealanders to understand and embrace those benefits,” she added.
The strategy document can be downloaded from here https://enz.govt.nz/about-enz/international-education-strategy
Mid-year enrolments see UC student numbers increase further 22 percent
University of Canterbury (UC) student numbers have received a further boost this year with a 22% increase in mid-year enrolments compared to last year.
With increases across all five UC Colleges UC has a total of 16,895 students, including 1011 doctoral students as of July 2018, compared to a total of 14,424 students in July 2014.
On the increasing numbers, UC Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr noted his delight, and put UC’s popularity down to a variety of factors, including a wide range of attractive programmes, affordable accommodation, and the supportive student environment on campus.
“Since UC started the academic year with a big increase in new-to-UC students, I’ve often been asked whether this increase in enrolments is related to the fees-free policy,” Carr said.
“While we’ve not yet had any conclusive evidence that UC’s enrolment boost has come directly from the new policy, there is emerging evidence that many first-year students are saying it was a significant factor in their choice or that it made some difference to their decision to study at UC this year.”
It appears that the increase in mid-year enrolments includes more people choosing to remain in the city to study, as well as more students moving to Christchurch, he added.
“We’ve had anecdotal evidence of students transferring from more expensive and congested locations, especially to escape difficult renting situations, such as in Auckland and Wellington. UC is proud to be part of the continuing recovery and exciting growth of Christchurch as the place to be.”