NZ Minister has Consultations on work-rights of International Students

Facts of the case

Overseas students who arrive in New Zealand to pursue their studies in courses of less than two year duration will not receive any post-study rights. Immigration Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway has begun consultation on the proposed changes on the post-study work rights of these students.

The proposed changes have the goal to eliminate all forms of exploitation of migrants and make sure that the migrants seeking residency are in a position to contribute their skills. Moreover New Zealand needs such skills. There are many students who get a false assurance in the country that the current post-study work rights has the ability in putting them on a fast track in getting residency he added. Furthermore, it has led to the fall in skill levels among migrants, who got the PR.  The international students are exploited not only by fraudulent agents, but also by employers and education providers.

The Changes in Post Study Work Visas

The proposed changes seek removing of post-study work visas which get the sponsorship of a particular employer.

The norm for Students who complete low-grade courses is to  study for at least two years in order to get working rights.

The students studying in level 8 or 9 qualifications must get admission in a course which is specific to the long-term skills shortage list. Through this their partners gain eligibility to get an open work visa and the children get a boost through free schooling.

There are many instances where migrant workers are subject to exploitation as they depend on a particular employer for staying in the country.

Work experience in New Zealand is the main factor for majority of students to study in the country. These proposals address this concern and also restrict the scope for exploitation.

People are getting a chance to comment on these changes from June 5th.

Exploitation and mismanagement

Chris Whelan, Executive Director, Universities New Zealand says that when the previous system was in force some negative employers exploited the students. Moreover, such students aimed to get jobs, having such qualifications for which there was no real demand.

The changes aim to make things simple for students, and encourage them to seek the necessary qualifications which lead towards significant jobs. Furthermore this will help the employers to deal with skill shortages effectively. Moreover it will bring immense benefits to the country.

June Ranson NZAMI chair said that these changes aim to solve issues but she has a worry regarding the international students who presently stay here or had completed their studies recently.

Several overseas students seeking education in the country today cannot stay in NZ, because they did not find a proper and relevant job to their sphere of studies.

Offering suitable remedies

Additionally the association made a plea to the Government, to offer extended study, and get adequate  qualifications, which are relevant to labor market . The cost needs to be low for students who faced exploitation in the past. This state of affairs has damaged the reputation of New Zealand as an ideal country to seek good education. This offer will also reduce damage and lead to restoring the faith . The Minister  should  consider the extending  the educational courses.

The minister gave the assurance that the working rights for the international students already present in the country will have status quo. The new rules will be applied for the  students, who reach from 2019 onward.

The proposed changes

The proposed changes for consultation include:

Removing the requirement of sponsoring by a particular employer for post-study work visas

Providing a one-year post-study work visa for non-degree level 7 qualifications

Providing a three-year post-study work visa for degree level 7 or higher qualifications

Requiring students who complete a non-degree level 7 qualification, to take up two years of study, to acquire eligibility, for post-study working rights, and

Requiring international students, who presently study level 8/9 qualifications, to exist in an area that is specified in the Long Term Skills Shortage List

This will assist their partner to gain eligibility  for an open  work visa and the dependent children of a partner will also gain eligibility for free compulsory schooling.

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