• Max Bradford

The Government has cleared the way for more students from China to come to New Zealand to study.

Education Minister Wyatt Creech and Immigration Minister Max Bradford announced today that the current quota of 400 students from China would be extended to 1000 students and tight criteria lifted from 1 July 1998.

The Ministers said the change is a transitional move towards ending country restrictions on student visas, which are expected to be lifted as part of a series of immigration legislative reforms.

"In the past there have been restrictions on Chinese citizens coming to New Zealand to study because of the risk they would abuse their student visa, overstay or claim refugee status in New Zealand. This historical risk has diminished considerably," the Ministers said.

They said the additional 600 places will be available on a first come first served basis and normal student immigration policy will apply to all applications under the quota from 1 July.

"Education institutions, including English language schools, have been very keen to tap into the Chinese student market. Extending the number of students and removing restrictions will help them achieve this.

"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."