• Max Bradford

Restrictions on Chinese students entering New Zealand to study are to be relaxed, Education Minister Wyatt Creech and Immigration Minister Max Bradford announced today.

The Government has agreed to introduce a one-off quota of 200 tertiary students, 100 secondary school exchange students and 100 full fee paying secondary school students.

It was timely to ease current restrictions given China's increased political stability and economic growth, the Ministers said.

`China's economy is enjoying high growth rates and New Zealand will benefit from a relaxation in Chinese student policy. We stand to gain increased revenue from the sale of educational services, trade, economic and cultural links.

`Strong education links with overseas countries help New Zealand's international competitiveness by educating the future workforce to be aware of cultural diversity and global economic and social forces shaping society,' the Ministers said.

Chinese student policy was tightened in 1992 in response to political instability in China.

`In the last few years relations with China have returned to normal in all areas except the student policy..'

At present there are strict restrictions on the entry of Chinese tertiary students including that they must be 29 years old or younger, have a university degree or equivalent and have English language skills.

For the trial quota of tertiary students, the age restriction is to be raised to 35 years and the requirement for an undergraduate qualification removed.

`The students will not take the places of New Zealand students. The Education Act prevents foreign students from taking positions funded by the Government for New Zealand students.'

The New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) will manage and monitor the one-off quota in consultation with the Ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs and Trade and education sector groups.

The information will help us assess whether Chinese student policy should be liberalised on a permanent basis, the Ministers said.