New Zealand has always been a popular place for students from around the world to travel but recent statistics published by the government of New Zealand’s immigration department show that the number of visa applications to study in New Zealand has reduced by up to 20% over the past year. This data is causing real concern to educational establishments across the country.
The figures reveal that the number of student visa applicants dropped from 61,500 to 50,200 for the academic year of 2016. The final number of visas granted was 37,600.
The decline has been partly attributed to the reduction in the number of Indian students applying for visas. Having risen considerably in 2015 the number of Indians applying for student visas in 2016 dropped considerably, by over 9,500 applicants.
A representative of the New Zealand government blamed the reduction on a reduction in applicants from India due to the changes in the requirements for English language that have recently been made more strict.
A change in the rules on student visa applications meant that applicants are now required to include a formal English test rather than merely showing evidence of English teaching that was the case previously. The notification in the changes resulted in a surge of applicants in 2015 attempting to beat the rule changes and since the introduction the numbers have dropped.
Applicants from the Philippines have also been hit by the changes and number of applicants form here has also dropped. However, the figures also show that applicants from countries where the changes are not applicable have not changed considerably.
Educational establishments have taken note and are looking to new markets to attract students to study in New Zealand citing an over reliance on Indian and Chinese students.