National will revive international education

Reviving international education is another part of National’s plan to rebuild the economy to get it working for all New Zealanders, says National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Penny Simmonds and National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford.

“Before the pandemic, international education was New Zealand’s fifth largest export earner, contributing $3.7 billion to the economy and supporting at least 6,000 jobs. But the sector is struggling to recover, with its contribution to New Zealand’s economy down significantly in 2022, delivering only $800 million,” Ms Simmonds says.

“New Zealand has been in recession, the cost of living continues to rise faster than wages, and mortgages are unaffordable. We need to get sectors that can provide much-needed export earnings like international education back on their feet as soon as possible.

“Supporting international education to recover will boost export revenue, create job opportunities, and strengthen global connections that will drive economic growth in New Zealand.

“Reviving international education is also vital for our tertiary education institutions. The revenue raised from higher international fees allows our universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions to provide better quality education and services while keeping costs down for domestic students.

“National will make a series of sensible changes to make New Zealand a more attractive destination for international students.”

National’s plan to revive international education will:

  • Fast track visa processing for international students who pay an additional fee.
  • Increase the hours international students are able to work each week from 20 to 24.
  • Expand work rights for international students and their partners to make New Zealand a more attractive destination.
  • Diversify the countries Education New Zealand recruits international students from.

“While other countries have adjusted their settings to attract international students, Labour has failed to take any action to encourage students to choose New Zealand as their preferred place to study,” Ms Stanford says.

“Making New Zealand more appealing for international students and reviving our once humming international education sector is part of National’s wider plan to rebuild the economy to get it working for all New Zealanders.

“A strong economy means an end to the cost-of-living crisis, higher incomes, lower mortgage rates, and it also means New Zealand can also afford the quality public services on which we all rely.”

Find National's Reviving International Education Policy here