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New Zealand Universities Concerned About Visa Delays for Indian Students

May 24, 2024

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New Zealand's prestigious universities have sounded the alarm over significant visa delays and rejections faced by Indian students aspiring to study in the country. In a unified effort, all eight universities have engaged with the government, expressing deep concerns about the situation's potential impact on New Zealand's reputation as a world-class study destination.

Chris Whelan, the chief executive of Universities New Zealand, an organization representing all of the country's universities, highlighted the gravity of the issue. " At the start of semester one this year, nearly 10 percent of visas to study at a New Zealand university were not yet allocated to an Immigration NZ official for processing, and another 2 percent were still being processed,” Whelan stated. "This uncertainty has severely impacted their studies, as they had to deal with the double pressure of familiarizing themselves with a new country while catching up on missed studies."

The matter has gained such urgency that representatives from prestigious institutions like the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, Massey University, Lincoln University, University of Otago, and the University of Canterbury have shown similar sentiments about visa delays and high rejection rates.

A spokesperson for Victoria University of Wellington revealed that the institution's Vice-Chancellor, Nic Smith, has personally reached out to Minister of Education – Mrs. Erica Stanford, stressing the urgency of finding a solution. "In our engagement with the government, we are working closely with all eight universities, as well as key bodies like Universities New Zealand, Education New Zealand, and Immigration New Zealand, to ensure that international students can pursue their studies in New Zealand without unnecessary obstacles," the spokesperson stated.

The University of Waikato has also expressed its concerns stating, "Processing times remain a challenge, and we feel the government could do more to reduce visa processing times, which will positively impact our ability to continue attracting high-quality international students to our campuses."

Damien Lodge, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of student life at Lincoln University, echoed the sentiments, saying, "Lincoln University is concerned and continues to monitor visa clearance rates and wait times closely."


Visa Rejections 

While the visa rejection rate for Indian students in New Zealand has dropped from 49% to 40% in the first four months of 2024, the numbers are still concerning for New Zealand. 

From January 1st to April 23rd, Immigration New Zealand gave the green light to 3,008 New Zealand student visas but turned down 2,010 applications from Indian aspirants. In contrast, a mere 2% of the 8,012 visa applications from Chinese students faced rejection during the same period, giving overseas education recruiters in China a significant advantage.

Recognizing the situation's urgency, universities across New Zealand are ramping up efforts to engage with Indian entities and attract more students from the subcontinent.

In April, Education New Zealand – the government agency responsible for promoting the country as a study destination – teamed up with the High Commission of India in Wellington. Their goal? To celebrate the flourishing educational ties between the two nations by naming India the ‘Country of Honour’ at the New Zealand International Education Conference, NZEIC KI TUA 2024.

This initiative runs parallel to the New Zealand-India Connect program, where senior representatives from all eight Kiwi universities joined Education New Zealand for a week-long series of meetings and engagement activities in India.

On the immigration front, Celia Coombes, the director of Student Visa at Immigration New Zealand, stated, "We have recently implemented initiatives to facilitate student visas as quickly as possible while maintaining the integrity of the immigration system.

To support this effort, her team has appointed 90 full-time staff members dedicated to assessing student visa applications, with the potential for further expansion based on the volume of applications received. Coombes also highlighted that the average visa processing time currently falls between 31 working days and six weeks.

In conclusion, the recent visa hurdles faced by Indian students aspiring to study in New Zealand have created a fine climate for overseas education consultants back home because the need for expert guidance has never been more pressing.

Notably, KC Overseas Education offers a comprehensive suite of services to assist students. For recruiters seeking to capitalize on this burgeoning market, collaborating with KC Overseas could be a game-changer. KC’s extensive network, deep industry knowledge, and personalized approach make us an ideal partner for maximizing success in securing admissions and visas for New Zealand's World-Class Universities.

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