Visa rejection frustrates Indian students; Universities working with policymakers to resolve issues

"We need to do better for these students if we want this country to enjoy the benefits of international education."

Australia’s closest neighbour New Zealand is also going through tough times in the education sector, particularly with a high rate of visa rejection especially for Indian international students.

Kiwi universities have taken a direct stance against the concerning trend of high visa rejection rates among Indian applicants in 2024.

Spearheaded by Universities New Zealand, an organisation representing all eight tertiary institutions in the country, this engagement underscores the gravity of the situation.

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Chris Whelan, Chief Executive of Universities New Zealand, told RNZ that at the commencement of the academic term this year, nearly 10 per cent of visas for studying at a New Zealand university were still awaiting allocation to an Immigration NZ official for processing, with an additional 2 per cent in the processing pipeline.

Overall, 18 per cent of visas remained unconfirmed at the term’s outset. The ramifications of such uncertainties are profound. Whelan emphasised the unfairness to affected students and the damage inflicted on New Zealand’s reputation as a premier study destination.

Whelan said:

“We need to do better for these students if we want this country to enjoy the benefits of international education.”

A spokesperson for Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington echoed these concerns, noting potential adverse effects on international students due to visa processing delays. They revealed direct communication with the government, advocating for swift resolutions alongside other universities and key bodies.

“We are committed to working alongside policymakers to ensure that international students can pursue their studies in New Zealand without unnecessary obstacles.”

Similarly, the University of Waikato expressed apprehension regarding prolonged processing times, urging governmental action to alleviate these challenges and sustain the influx of high-quality international students.

Other universities, including the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, Massey University, Lincoln University, University of Otago, and the University of Canterbury, voiced shared concerns about visa delays and elevated rejection rates. To address these issues collectively, universities are actively engaging with policymakers.

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Despite these challenges, New Zealand universities are intensifying efforts to foster collaboration with Indian institutions to attract more students to the country.

Education New Zealand’s collaboration with the High Commission of India underscores a concerted effort to promote Aotearoa as an ideal study destination, exemplified by India’s designation as the “country of honour” at the New Zealand International Education Conference.

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