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NZ: visa refusals for Indian students up 10%

Data from Immigration New Zealand has revealed a 10% increase in study visa refusal rates for would-be Indian students between July 2019 and February 2020, with 26% of the 17,621 applications made being turned down.

IndianNZ visa applications acceptance rates for Indians have fallen. Photo: Atul Choudhary/Pexels

Acceptance rates for Indians increased from 62% in 2015/16 to 84% in 2018/19

Visa acceptance rates for Indian students increased from 62% in 2015/16 to 84% in 2018/19. The overall rate for all nationalities was 85% and 88.6% respectively.

“[Providers should] work in coordination with the government to understand the changes”

By contrast, Australian acceptance rates for Indian students have experienced less variation, having stayed between 74.7% and 82% since 2015/16.

Industry insiders have different interpretations of what these latest statistics show, but generally speaking, the increase in denials is attributed to the country’s International Education Strategy 2018-2030.

Keri Ramirez of Studymove told The PIE News that the results are likely a result of new measures to ensure students are “genuine entrants looking to gain a quality education”, which comes under one of the main pillars of the country’s strategy.

“My understanding is that the eight New Zealand universities worked closely with the government to understand the new measures and avoid disruptions in their recruitment efforts,” he said, adding that he encourages other sectors and private providers to “work in coordination with the government to understand the changes”.

Data also published by Immigration New Zealand on agents markets in India also shows just how significant the agent a student chooses to work with can be in terms of visa success rates.

Some 39 of the listed agencies had success rates of less than 50%. As a result of this, a student using an agent was less likely to get a visa than the overall average.

Meeting financial requirements can be a struggle for some students and immigration officers have noted applications using “crowd-funding”.

This entails students listing multiple sources of funds to support their studies – sometimes as many as sixty – which leads to questions as to whether this money is truly available to them.

“New Zealand’s international education strategy focuses on delivering a high-quality education and great experience for students, truly sustainable growth for the sector and embedding the benefits of global citizenship for New Zealanders,” Grant McPherson, chief executive of Education New Zealand, told The PIE.

“We want incoming students to meet the financial, academic and language requirements they need to ensure their well-being and to help them succeed.” 

Earlier this year New Zealand reported a 9.8% growth in international students in 2018 compared to the previous year. However, the number of Indians issued student visas has declined from 21,871 in 2015/16 to 15,826 in 2018/19.

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