Indian students warned against unregulated education agents

Wellington, Dec 2 (IANS) Licensed immigration advisers for New Zealand have warned that unregulated education agents are playing with the careers and lives of thousands of Indian students by luring them into the country with “false promises”.

“The unlicensed agents are playing with the careers and lives of thousands of students who are landing in New Zealand just to see their dreams shattered, and tarnishing the image of New Zealand,” Munish Sekhri, spokesman for Licensed Immigration Advisers for NZ (Lianz), was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald in a report published on Wednesday.

Indian students were being falsely promised automatic pathway to residence by education agents, Sekhri said.

“[They] are blatantly advertising the services, which otherwise only licensed advisers can provide, but there is no action against them,” he said.

Representatives of Lianz were in Auckland to make a submission demanding mandatory licensing for all overseas student advisers.

Since May 2010, people giving immigration advice are required by law to be licensed, but those providing education advice are exempt.

Sekhri said some licensed advisers felt it did not make business sense to be operating within the law.

“If Education NZ and education providers have the right to think about their profitability, licensed immigration advisers may also be forced to flirt with the law.”

India is New Zealand’s fastest growing international student market, worth over $430 million to the New Zealand economy.

Last year, Immigration New Zealand earned $24.6 million in revenue from processing student visas, $7.7 million of which came from India.

But nearly a third of the 29,406 Indians who applied for student visas between March last year and the end of February this year were declined. In the last financial year, India was also on top of immigration’s ‘declined nationalities’ list.

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