Although the title of this story focused on reduction of international students numbers but I feel the emphasis is on the PR numbers instead.

International student numbers dive
03.01.06 4.00pm

International student numbers arriving in New Zealand have continued to fall in the past year, down about 10,000 on the previous year, but nearly 10,000 more temporary workers came here than the year before.

The figures, just released in the Immigration Service's annual Migration Trends report, shows there were 77,600 student permit holders for the 2004/2005 year, 11 per cent down from 87,000 in the 03/04 year.

About 25 per cent of those students go on to become permanent New Zealand residents.

Numbers of students from China -- the biggest source of international students -- fell sharply from 40,700 in 03/04 to 34,100 in the past year.

Offsetting the drop in temporary student visas was the growth to 82,500 temporary work permit holders last year -- 12 per cent more than the previous year.

In permanent residents, the United Kingdom provided nearly a third of the 48,815 people granted permanent residence in the past year with 31 per cent.

That has more than doubled in the past two years since 02/03 when just 14 per cent were from the United Kingdom -- then behind both China and India.

The next highest proportion are now from China, 10 per cent, South Africa, 7 per cent, and India, 7 per cent.

The total number of permanent residencies granted was up from 39,017 in 03/04.

Of the new permanent residents, 49 per cent, or 23,854, came in under the skilled migrant category.

The investor category of migrant continued to fall -- from 4400 in 01/02 to just 1400 in the past year ahead of a new investor policy for 05/06.

Immigration consultant Aaron Martin told the New Zealand Herald the country's immigration policy "clearly" favoured native English speakers as non-native speakers had to sit a language test and be deemed a "competent user".

Mr Martin said the United Kingdom was seen as a comparable labour market with similar social and educational standards.

"It all comes down to: Is this person going to have a skill set that will find favour with New Zealand employers?"