Residency call for foreigners graduating at NZ varsities
By JOHN HARTEVELT - The Dominion Post
Last updated 05:00 01/06/2010

Foreign students should be allowed to become permanent residents if they graduate from New Zealand universities, the chairman of the vice-chancellor's committee says.

Students reacted angrily yesterday to a Government push for more international students to come to New Zealand.

The New Zealand Union of Students Associations says it is unfair the welcome mat is rolled out for foreigners while entry to university study for Kiwis gets tougher.

But the chairman of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee, Derek McCormack, welcomed the move.

Mr McCormack, vice-chancellor of Auckland University of Technology, said the proportion of international students now enrolled was not high.

"We certainly can move up and we should be seeking to do so," Mr McCormack said.

The Government should consider making it easier for foreign graduates to become permanent New Zealand residents if they studied at and graduated from one of the eight Kiwi universities.

"Why not keep as many of those people as we can?" he said. "... they've [foreign graduates of New Zealand universities] got good qualifications that are accepted here."

However, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce does not support the idea.

"The Government wants to encourage international students to come here for academic reasons, not as a short cut for them to obtain permanent residency," Mr Joyce said.

He indicated the marketing of New Zealand to foreign students was to change.

"We put more money in this year and we put more money in last year but actually I think we are definitely going to have a look at how we best do that. The resources are being spread too thin.

"We're not a big country so perhaps some better co-ordination, some better use of those resources might be sensible."

While the Government wants to attract thousands more international students to study here, they will not take places at the expense of Kiwi students.

The Government has funded for an extra 1735 domestic students to attend universities and 3173 to go to polytechs and institutes of technology next year. In real terms, government spending on tertiary education has increased by 53 per cent since 1999-2000.

Despite the funding boost, universities say they cannot keep up with demand and will have to turn some students away.

Already this year, Massey, Victoria and Otago universities have capped admissions to domestic students for the second semester.

NZUSA co-president Pene Delaney said increasing international student enrolments would not be a silver bullet for "continued underfunding" of the sector.

"Some will question why, when universities say there is no more capacity to enrol any more students," Mr Delaney said.

From here.