14 May 2009

More Indians emigrating to New Zealand through student visa program

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The number of Indians emigrating to New Zealand through the New Zealand student visa program has soared over the past year, according to figures from Statistics New Zealand.

The prospect of emigrating to New Zealand has been a high priority for many Indians, who are attracted to New Zealand's natural, outdoor lifestyle, low density population, good employment opportunities, advantageous exchange rate, and more importantly, joining an established network of family and friends who have already emigrated to New Zealand.

For many, the New Zealand student visa program is a valuable pathway to emigrating to New Zealand, because it helps Indians develop their English language ability and obtain local qualifications to be eligible for a permanent New Zealand skilled migration visa.

According to New Zealand Trade Commissioner Cliff Fuller, the last four years has seen an impressive growth spurt in the international student market from India in New Zealand.

"In 2005, the strength of Indian students studying in New Zealand was 2000 which has increased to 6000 in 2009," he said.

Indian Newslink also reports that the past nine months has seen a threefold increase in the number of New Zealand visa applications from India, taking the total number of Indian students in the country to approximately 6,000.

English New Zealand chairman Rob McKay was also quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying that the New Zealand education industry has not reached its full potential in terms of international students because the New Zealand immigration policy is holding it back; international students are restricted in terms of securing a New Zealand work permit to help them subsidise their living and studying expenses.

Education New Zealand chief executive Robert Stevens agreed: "As a small, export dependent economy we are critically dependent upon having an internationalisation of our educational institutions, as well as wider social networks, and international students play an absolutely vital part in this wider process of internationalisation."


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