A business school that catered mainly to students from India has been shut down.

Linguis International, which has campuses in Auckland and Christchurch, has lost its registration after the NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA) found plagiarism rates of between 20 and 50 per cent.

NZQA deputy chief executive Dr Grant Klinkum said the authority "has identified serious concerns at Linguis in relation to educational performance and compliance with NZQA rules".

"As a result, NZQA has cancelled the registration of Linguis as a private training establishment."


An NZQA report last November said the institute had grown rapidly from 158 students in 2012 to about 1000 at the time of the review.

Klinkum said today that numbers were now down to just 81 students.

"NZQA's first priority is to support current students to transfer into high performing alternative providers," he said.

In November, 95 per cent of Linguis students in Auckland were from India.

Linguis director Mike Dawson said in December that the school was one of 18 education providers with Indian student visa problems who were called to a "please explain" meeting with Immigration NZ in October.

The Government changed the rules for student visas last year after finding that many Indian students were using temporary bank loans to show that they could afford to pay fees and live in New Zealand.

Student numbers from India have since plummeted, dragging down total migrant numbers from India from 12,264 in the year to March 2016 to 7999 in the latest March year.

Linguis provided courses in English, National Diploma in Business (Level 5 and 6) and Diploma in Business (Level 7).


Dawson said "just over half" the students at the end were in Auckland. NZQA said 53 of the 81 remaining students were from India, 14 from China and 14 from other countries.

The business employed 20 fulltime and 13 part-time staff at the time of the November NZQA report. Dawson declined to say how many staff were employed at the end.

He said Linguis was "extremely disappointed with the way in which this matter has been dealt with".

"The decision to consider deregistering Linguis was made without any attempt to by NZQA to first contact us to update itself on Linguis' current position," he said.

"In spite of evidence of dramatic improvement and confirmed excellence by our assessment partner, Linguis was deregistered essentially because of a cobbling together of past performance issues rather than on how Linguis had been performing at the time the decision to deregister was made.

"This was confirmed in NZQA's deregistration notice letter to us. This is grossly unfair to Linguis and its students.


"It is also especially shocking given Linguis and NZQA were scheduled to conduct Linguis' external evaluation and review at the same time as it made the decision to deregister.

"Had the review gone ahead as agreed with Linguis and as provided by law, it would have confirmed the true current state of Linguis' educational performance in a process designed specifically to do just that with a full array of checks and balances.

"Linguis can only speculate that there was concern that we may have come through the review process without justification for deregistration."

But Klinkum said NZQA followed all standard procedures and allowed Linguis to respond to the proposed deregistration.

"Linguis made three written responses and one verbal response on the deregistration," he said.

He said NZQA cancelled the registration of three private training establishments last year and a further three so far this year. Only two had international students: Linguis and Aotearoa Tertiary Institute, which was deregistered in January.


The NZQA report last November said Dawson and his wife Mei Ding, who each owned 50 per cent of the shares in Linguis, also operated "an immigration agency which provides immigration and employment services".

Dawson said he and his wife "have not owned any shares in an immigration and employment company since early 2015".

Dawson is still a director of Employment Law Ltd, Aotearoa Tertiary Academy Ltd, Novasol Enterprises Ltd and Countrywide Investment Ltd, and is a former director of Stay@NZ Migrate Ltd, whose registered office is at the former address of Linguis' Christchurch campus.

Klinkum said NZQA "takes extremely seriously its role in ensuring quality education is delivered to students and that New Zealand qualifications are robust, credible and internationally recognised".

'NZQA will not tolerate poor quality education provision. Where providers are not meeting the standards we expect of them, we take action to ensure system integrity. Action can range from requiring a tertiary provider to take corrective action through to deregistering a provider," he said.

"The great majority of providers deliver excellent tertiary education and conform to the rules and requirements. These providers support NZQA's quality assurance interventions as it protects students and ensures the integrity of New Zealand's tertiary education.'


• Students can contact NZQA on linguis.students@nzqa.govt.nz or 0800 697 296.