New Zealand Labour Party

More low-skilled students becoming residents

New figures showing international students now make up nearly 40 per cent of all principal applicants approved for New Zealand residency and that their skill level has fallen dramatically, are further evidence that National’s immigration system is broken, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. 

“Data obtained by Labour under the Official Information Act and Written Parliamentary Questions shows that an increasing number of low-skilled students are gaining New Zealand residency and raising the risk of new migrants being exploited in insecure low-wage jobs.

“Between 2009/10 and 2013/14 the proportion of principal applicants accepted for residency who had previously held a student visa increased from 28 per cent to 39 per cent. 

“At the same time the proportion of former international students who gained residency with a bachelor degree or higher tumbled from 69.4 per cent to 52.4 per cent while those with sub-degree qualifications jumped from 41.7 per cent to 47.6 per cent. 

“It’s not just temporary migrants who are being exploited for their cheap labour, it’s permanent residents as well. This also puts downward pressure on the wages of people already here. 

“This is a deliberate strategy by National to allow a proliferation of low quality education to produce a low-skill migrant workforce who have paid through the nose for their education in the hope that it will lead to residency. 

“This is just further evidence of National’s abuse of the immigration system. Labour is committed to ending the exploitation of migrants and to delivering an immigration system that works for New Zealand and for new migrants,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.