Immigration New Zealand statistics show that only 38,954 international students and providers of education have little chance of raising that figure this year.
There are normally as many as 86,000 international students at any time in New Zealand, and over a year, as many as 120,000 will pass through the country.
The figures showed that 13,601 of the students had university study visas. Still, Chris Whelan, director of Universities in New Zealand, said that the true figure was likely to be much lower.
“The figure will be higher than the numbers of students we’re expecting to be studying through this year because it’s going to include several students who are finishing up or graduating and heading home at some stage over the next month or two,” he said.
Whelan said universities normally began the year with around 22,000 international students, and they expected less than half of that number this year.
“With almost none of the first-year intake, about 7000-8000 students, coming through we are going to see a massive drop in the number of second-year students this year and of course we’re not seeing first-year students this year either,” he said.
“Realistically it should probably be more like about may eight [thousand], nine or 10,000 students that are going to be continuing through this year.”
Whelan said most students who were part-way through their studies had stayed in New Zealand and universities were hoping that those who had completed Bachelor’s degrees would choose to enrol in postgraduate programs this year.
He said the fall in numbers at universities would cause difficult financial decisions.
Eight thousand two hundred international students with study visas for schools were shown in the figures.
Patrick Walsh, chairman of the Schools International Education Business Association, said his school started the year with about two-thirds of its normal foreign enrollment.
Number of in-country international students with valid study visas through the education provider
- University 13,601
- School 8201
- Private tertiary 7136
- Polytechnic 6662
- Not recorded 3354
- Total 38,954
Number of international students with valid study visas by nationality in the country (top 10)
- China 11331
- Hong Kong 781
- India 8385
- Japan 992
- Malaysia 793
- Philippines 1205
- South Africa 812
- South Korea 2297
- Thailand 908
- Vietnam 1593
“At John Paul College, we would normally be starting at 55. We retained 30 for this year, so that’s quite a substation loss. If the borders don’t open this year then it’s likely we will have no international students by the end of the year, and that situation is likely to be replicated up and down the country,” he said.
Walsh said there were already no international students in some schools.
“Talking to other principals, they have no international students this year at all, particularly those that we’re relying on the European market,” he said.
“Schools that rely on the Asian market are in a much better position. Those students are likely to return to their country of origin by the end of the year.”
Walsh said schools would have to lay off personnel without extra government funding.
Darren Conway, chairman of English New Zealand, said that English language schools are now down to a fraction of their normal enrollment.
Perhaps 10 to 15 per cent of normal would be my guess. So we may have about 1000 students studying English across the country, but that would be the high end of it, “My guess would be maybe 10 to 15 per cent of normal. So we may have around 1000 students across the country studying English, but that would be the high end of it,”
Conway said language learners have not normally studied for more than 12 months, and enrollment in schools has been steadily running down.
He said emergency government funding would help some schools to survive until June, but they needed to know what the government planned to do for the rest of the year as soon as possible.