Chinese Student Quota Proves Popular

  • John Delamare

The Minister of Immigration, Hon Tuariki Delamere, today welcomed the high level of interest shown in the expanded People's Republic of China student quota.

Mr Delamere said enough applications had been received in just two months to fill the expanded PRC Student Quota, and that the New Zealand Immigration Service Beijing Branch has had to stop accepting further applications.

Six hundred additional places were added to the original quota of 400 on 1 July 1998, taking the total number of places to 1000. "More than double the number of applications for those additional 600 places have now been received," Mr Delamere said.

The original restrictions for the 400 quota (including the English Language requirement for tertiary and secondary students, an age limit of 35, and a mandatory base qualification for tertiary students) were lifted for all applicants.

"The Beijing Branch of the NZIS is now processing all the applications and applicants will be notified of the outcome as soon as verification checks have been completed."

Mr Delamere said the strong response to the extended quota showed the keen interest among Chinese students.

He said foreign students studying in New Zealand make a significant contribution to the economy and the education sector in particular.

"In addition to the estimated $350 million - $500 million a year education services earn New Zealand in foreign exchange, the presence of foreign students in our classrooms makes an important contribution to the Government's objective in fostering good relations with other countries around the world," Mr Delamere said.

The Minister said the more relaxed policy towards Chinese students had to be balanced against the risk of people not complying with their permit conditions in New Zealand, but he was highly optimistic that the transitional step towards ending policy restrictions on Chinese students would be a step in the right direction. All country restrictions on student policy are expected to be lifted as part of a series of immigration legislative reforms.