Labour calls for crackdown on international student critieria after red-flagged approvals

Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins. Photo / Supplied
Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins. Photo / Supplied

The Labour Party is calling for a crackdown on international students coming to New Zealand after a survey of those approved for entry in Mumbai found only a small percentage had genuine intentions and met English language requirements.

The 2014 survey, which was obtained by Labour under the Official Information Act after a surge of 81 per cent more approvals was red-flagged by authorities, revealed of the 221 approvals audited, only 9 per cent met criteria to study in New Zealand.

Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins said the surge had been caused by the Government relaxing English language requirements in 2013.

"This led to dodgy offshore agents being employed by private training establishments who have a vested interest to see more foreign students taking up their courses," he said.

"Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce is so hell-bent on expanding the international education sector that he relaxed the rules and in doing so risked damaging New Zealand's reputation."

He said there were potentially thousands of students in New Zealand now who did not meet basic English requirements and who may not be here to study. "There has been a complete lack of oversight here by an increasingly arrogant and out of touch Government."

Mr Joyce said Mr Hipkins was completely out of date.

"The survey the Labour Party is referring to is now two years old. We made changes as a direct result of the issues raised back in 2014.

"New Zealand has tightened the international education rules a number of times since we have been in office. We have a much more robust approach under the current Government to dealing with any provider, public or private, that uses unscrupulous agents."

- NZ Herald

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