International students make a valuable contribution to tertiary education in New Zealand.
UCOL, the Institute of Technology and Polytechnic in the lower central North Island of New Zealand, has around 300 international students each year. UCOL's Chief Executive, Dr Amanda Lynn, says "the value of international students is significant in terms of income for our institution. However, UCOL's goal is to help our students and team to be great global citizens. Our international students help us to achieve this through their diversity and their engagement with our community both within UCOL, and regionally. International students add to the vibrancy of our campuses and regions, and they strengthen our institution academically by challenging our thinking."
UCOL Executive Director Business Development, Dr Arthur Chin, said recent disappointments around slow visa processing by Immigration NZ has resulted in some students delaying their study plans to 2020. "UCOL appreciates the commitment and work undertaken by Immigration New Zealand to ensure there is no fraudulent or suspicious activity when approving student visas, and at the same time is concerned at the length of delays that are occurring. Delays in excess of four months are being experienced, and this is too long.
"We are doing what we can to assist the applicants, education agents and Immigration New Zealand. All students must meet New Zealand Regulations and Academic Entry requirements and UCOL will continue to assess every individual application for correctness and authenticity. As a high performing Institute of Technology and Polytechnic we want students who are serious about studying and who meet New Zealand regulations. Any one can apply for a student visa, and reported increased concerns about high risk applications to come to New Zealand are concerning."
According to Dr Chin, campus life is enriched through a range of cultures, practices and experiences, and the international students who study at UCOL are committed to their study and do very well. "UCOL has not cancelled any programmes due to insufficient international students and we are focussing on completing academic enrolment processes for the 2020 academic year to give INZ time to complete the visa processing. We expect improved efficiencies as INZ work through the high numbers of applications they have.
photo: International student by Sean Kong