Joyce on international education

Steven Joyce takes a break from baking to comment on Linked In:

This New Zealand Herald Story from last week highlights the grave risk to many non-university tertiary providers and to the whole international education sector of the government’s proposed changes to visa settings.

Removing or curtailing the option to work after study will mean many thousands of fee-paying international students choosing Canada, Australia, or the US for study instead of New Zealand. …

It’s important to note that the vast majority of international students don’t stay in New Zealand after study. But the possibility of working after study is a big driver of where a student chooses to study.

Students like to have options.

The Immigration Minister says that he wants to remove “low-level study options” that are a “back door to immigration.” However there is no low-level study option that provides immigration opportunities – that door was shut years ago. Now we are talking about study at Levels 5 and 6 – which is the equivalent of a builder or a plumber, or a hotel manager. These are not low-level skills.

And we need more of them.

He also says he wants to remove the rorts and we all agree about that. But the appropriate response is to keep strengthening the regulators of the sector, not suffocating it with what is effectively a blanket ban on larger numbers of potential students.

Thousands of education jobs, huge export revenues, and the very viability of many quality public and private education providers is at risk with this proposed change. 

This is a chance for the new government to show it is using its consultation to truly listen. If it doesn’t the black and white reality is that another significant export earner will fall on very hard times.

Steven has pretty much kept away from politics since he left Parliament. He must care pretty deeply on this issue, to weigh in on it.

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