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The National-led Government has failed to take the opportunity to fix legal flaws in the export education system, leaving students and providers in a vulnerable position, says Labour’s Export Education Spokesperson Raymond Huo.
“”Education agents dealing with visa applications from overseas students are not covered by the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act. When it was passed in 2007, that exemption was supposed to be kept under review in case it later needed to be removed. But this Government has failed to do so.
“The so-called ‘Super Minister’ Steven Joyce has let the export education sector down. Students and schools are suffering because he’s been too busy shuffling the deck chairs in his various ministries to follow through on the promised review.
“A licensing regime would protect genuine students from being exploited by unscrupulous agents. It would ensure that all providers operate on an equal footing and protect the sector’s reputation internationally.
“But because National has failed to act, New Zealand taxpayers’ will be left to foot the bill for situations like the recent discovery of visa fraud, where the students implicated will no doubt end up being deported.
“It’s time for National to work alongside the export education sector to improve the legislation governing the activities of agents. The only way we can attract quality international students is to work together to prove to the world that New Zealand is a top quality education provider.”