Rotorua's largest tertiary provider has had the highest percentage of Indian student visa applications in the country approved, even though almost half were declined.

Waiariki Institute of Technology had a 48 per cent decline rate in the last 10 months for Indian student visas, below the national average of 50.4 per cent.

Its merged partner, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic - which was still a separate entity at the time the figures were collated - had a 50 per cent decline rate, with 73 visas approved and 72 declined.

This comes off the back of news that nationally, more Indian student visas were declined than approved in the past 10 months, as Immigration New Zealand battles widespread fraud.


Figures show 10,863 of the 20,887 applications Immigration New Zealand received from applicants in India were declined. Of those, 9190 had been lodged by unlicensed education advisers, student agents and lawyers who are exempt from licensing.

Waiariki's interim chief executive Neil Barns said the institute was working closely with Immigration New Zealand to "help improve this situation through information sharing which to date has successfully uncovered fraudulent practice of using fake documentation".

"We also have a very robust agent training and approval process and actively work with Immigration New Zealand and our agents aiming to get higher quality applications and identify the agents who are fraudulent."

Mr Barns said the institute had not appointed any new agents in "high risk" regions Punjab, Andhra and Pradesh following discussions with Immigration New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Waiariki remains a favourite with international students with new figures from the New Zealand International Education Snapshot showing enrolments were up 22 per cent, or 891 students in the Bay of Plenty area last year.

Waiariki's international education director Graeme Rennie said the school expected about a 20 per cent increase in international students overall this year, including about a 12 per cent increase at its Mokoia campus.

Most students were from India, China and South East Asia, similar to at the vast majority of tertiary education providers.

Mr Rennie said the students were studying a wide range of programmes from certificate and diploma up to post graduate diplomas.


There were even a few studying at masters level, he said.

Management, applied technology, and health related programmes were the most popular for international students.

The English language was also popular with local migrants studying it as well as international students.

The New Zealand international education industry earned just over $1 billion in tuition fee revenue in 2015, an additional $146 million compared to 2014, and a record result for the industry.

- Additional reporting by Kim Fulton