Can NZ ever be a real destination for Indian Students?

NZ has been promoting itself in India for about 12 years now. It has had spurts of growth from time to time. However, I have always felt that there is shortage of a proper India-strategy and a proper India-team. What we get is what we get. Hence often the growth is dependent on other countries and often linked inversely to Australia.

  • Post 2001, Australian demand with Indian students went down and at the same time NZ importance as a destination went up.
  • Post 2003, Australia changed India’s AL and boom in student numbers to Australia once again picked up and NZ growth was affected and numbers stagnated.
  • And NOW, Australian numbers are falling and NZ numbers are picking up esp in markets that bring in “concern”.

This kind of dependence on another country doing badly to prop its own numbers is certainly not desirable.  And can certainly not be a strategy.

NZ is a fantastic country and a full destination in its own right. Its closely guarded Universities are amongst the best that I have seen. All 8 of them are of very high quality and interestingly, can work together and even market together. They donot franchise their campuses and ensure tighter quality control. This is also true for the ITP sector in NZ. Often comparisons with the TAFE in Australia are unfair as many of the ITPs in NZ are smaller and hence more controlled.

However, there is a worry element too. The PTEs (some of them) are behaving exactly in the same manner as the Private Providers (some of them) behaved in Australia, which has led to the catastrophe that has been witnessed. Compromised standards, working with all kinds of education agents, Offering higher commission to lure agents to lure students, On-shore recruitment, bogus colleges, assured Part Time jobs…

What aggravates the situation is that while OZ was unprepared for what happened, NZ is far more unprepared, just in case anything happens on the lines that it did in Australia.

Hence what should NZ be doing to lift its brand as an education destination?

  1. Education NZ needs to spend more time and money developing markets that are not recruiting students for NZ within India. It needs to focus on markets that have reputation for quality student numbers. It also needs to go beyond managing India from Delhi.
  2. Outreach activities of NZ Providers with Indian Universities should be immediately accelerated if NZ wants to become a real destination for Indian quality students. And not merely a way of bringing in manpower to NZ to suit its Immigration goals. Hence I was delighted when I heard that WINTEC now has a tie-up of sorts with IIT Kharagpur. Similarly UCOL has engaged with some partnership in North. However, have not heard of any such real partnerships between Indian Universities and NZ Universities. What happened to fabled NZ entrepreneurship?
  3. The work with education agents should be more focused on quality recruitment and to lifting the NZ brand. There is a need for a strategy document that involves the education agents in market development activities. The act of “ex” NZ Government contracted staffs is also bringing dis-repute as the impression in the market is that there is a way of getting things done with regards to visas.
  4. What happened with OZ was also a result of the greed on part of institutions and on part of agents. Sub-contracting and sub-agencies continued on part of respectable education agents till the time when OZ government has come down heavily on such short-cuts. NZ needs to realize this at this time. Institutions and agents need to ensure that every student choosing been counseled by the agent directly.

NZ remains a favorite country and I may remind that when my own brother-in-law was choosing a destination for education and migration, I recommended NZ. It’s a different thing that after living in NZ for a few years, he has chosen to move across to Australia and is now in Sydney. This needs reflection too. How can NZ retain its migrants????

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    1. Its people like these which give rise to increasing demand for NZ at this time. Even though the situation in OZ is not as bad as it is made out to be. Interestingly now there is a new trend that the Indian students unable to stay on in OZ are possibly considering NZ options. Study for 1 year to be able to stay on.


  1. Ravi,
    They need to work on their visa procedures as well. Specially the financial requirements. On one hand they say that if the students own funds are not enough for the sponsorship they can resort to outside funds for which they do not have any guidelines like OZ. The other thing is that if a student wants to go for a course which is more than one yr specially the bachelors the high comm says that they want to see how is the provision for the funds for the following yrs which in short means that they want to see the funds for all the yrs which is a little impossible. With the kind of fee structure that the uni’s have how can someone show a 3 yrs fund or 4 yrs in case of engineering. contrary to that is what is written on their visa guidance leaflet which is put on thier own website which says “FUNDS TO BE SHOW IS FOR ONE YR” and then comes the dicy statement “however if your course is longer than one yr you need to show how the student will be able fulfill that”. there is a lot of ambiguity coz of this statement. Good to know that your brother selected NZ to go education but then you should not forget that he would have valid reason for finally settling down in OZ.


    1. Yes Sachin, my brother in law studied at Waikato after his Engineering in India. Worked for a few years in NZ and then travelled to Australia for work. Found it better suited to him and moved over with family. However maintains his NZ nationality… This is true for many. Especially skilled migrants who are fine at the lower levels of the employment ladder but then have to move over elsewhere to go up.


  2. The NZ institutes including ITP’s, universities or private providers need to be more careful whom they appoint as their agents in India. Today we see many local agents from NZ also operating in India with their subagent network.

    In addition to this I feel the NZ institutes are only after numbers just like the Australian providers. In fact they should learn a lesson from their neighbours. Especially the issue of subagents is a major concern in New Zealand. The NZ institutes are not aware of the ill effects of this subagent or associate policy which agents follow in India and some of the institutes (including some ITP’s) have been encouraging this. In fact yesterday I got a mail from one of the ITP staff that I can send my application to another agent and I asked him isn’t that a breach of the pastoral care act.

    The NZ pastoral care policy which is meant for the institutes and agents recruiting international students is very clear that all agents should comply with this code. The code further says that ethical performance of the recruiting agent is of paramount importance. With agents having subagents or associate networks, often agents will not see the student face to face; the student never knows the main agent, believes the associate or subagent to be his agent, never gets first hand information on courses, living costs or any thing else, here I am not sure as how this pastoral code is being followed. This is a serious breach of their code which needs to be looked into. In addition to this NZ institutes talk about quality and with appointments of agents who are not monitored and not members of any professional group of NZ, but can anyhow generate numbers, I am doubtful if their quality will be maintained in future. I am surprised that some of the ITP’s just like PTE’s have appointed local Indians without much experience or ethics or any understanding of the education market as their marketing managers for India.

    Some of the ITP’s recently did not invite a few NZSA agents to participate in their ITP fairs and I was told that as some agents have never given numbers they have avoided these agents. But my question is unless the NZ institutes identify good agents and educate and train them to recruit students for them, how can they have numbers. Now some agents have been sending mails to students in Australia that they will send them to NZ from Australia, well this is OK, but does NZ or the ITP’s / or PTE’s want all those hairdressing . Cooking students from Australia. The issue is they all need numbers and will do anything for numbers; the “international office” performance is measured by number game only. It’s the genuine agents with neat profiles which will be affected in this whole game and NZ will have a lot to lose in future if this is not controlled.

    The NZSA group in India is a result of quality and quantity parameters which have been met and these members need to follow some strict advertising rules and regulations. However many of the group members are not on the favourite list of many universities and ITP’s. While it should be the other way around, the NZ institutes must work closely with these members and train them to recruit students, as they don’t encourage these good agencies these NZSA agents go looking for private providers to stay in business.

    Recently while I was speaking to the ITP’s from New Zealand in Hyderabad one day before their fair, I actually told them the same and they need to encourage agents to perform and restrain from appointing agencies which are not monitored as this may affect them very adversely in future.

    I am a New Zealander myself and I have lived there for many years, I am really proud of this country. It’s a fantastic destination for studies. I am confident that it will suit Indian students the best.

    We must actually bring these facts to the notice of Education New Zealand and the local office here.


  3. The recent NZ visa seminar had mentioned that NZSA members are equally located geographically. It also showed a slide where 2 NZSA members from Mumbai and 2 NZSA members from Gujarat. Frankly speaking, can Mumbai be compared to Gujarat ? Gujarat being the state and Mumbai being a City.

    Gujarat , the second largest market requires more NZSA members to monitor and counsel the potential applicants.


    1. I purposely didnot mention NZSA in my blog. That requires a full and separate discussion. From what I know, NZSA is primarily dependent on volume and success rate. Some more criteria has been introduced now but “geography” is not amongst them. Please donot get me started on NZSA… Lets leave this for a later date.


  4. I agree with Nishi.

    ITP’s has already started appointing new low profile in Gujarat. This has already started up with the mess, as they are not aware about the visa criteria’s as well as about the course’s nor about the institutions. They simply collect the applications, send it to the uni/polytechnic to decide whether they are eligible or not. If they are not eligible, they give wrong excuses to the students, when such students goes to an quality agent, they come to know about the proper answer/reasons for not accepting the application and guide them with the other alternative selection of course/polytechnic’s. ITP these days want an numbers, if you are not providing adequate numbers, they would even not bother to visit your offices though they are in your town. They consider as an waste of time and energy with working with an qaulity as the numbers are not sufficient.

    Moreover, the students who have secured an offer letter and when agents apply for the visa’s, they are not aware about the criteria’s, NHC contacts them, they say whether such documents where required, they were not aware only. Even during the interview of the students, students does not know what is purpose for going to the said course and college, students say agents selected this course and we are not known to these and still request them to grant the visa’s. This has already started in Gujarat. I am not too sure, if these prevails in to the other markets atleast for NZ.

    Here, i agree with Rahul, there is an need of more agents, so that the quality is being maintained and Gujarat is huge, it contains 4 major cities
    ( Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat and Rajkot ) with 183 suburbs inside.

    This is has been very serious issues these days and for your information, there is an good agent who have recently invited applications from the associates/subagents by offering good/huge commissions in public for NZ, again the same problem of the quality being maintained ? Where would be the check.

    NZ do offer quality education to their students no doubt onto it, just it needs to promoted well. Its an best destination for the indian students to build up their career along with the chances of future settlement. What more would the students need.


    1. Mohit, the agent has to earn the respect of the institutions and also of the industry to be acknowledged. However, I take your point that some institutions are not careful in appointing agents and sometimes accept anyone who applies.


  5. I am especially interested in the first point you make – “Education NZ needs to spend more time and money developing markets…reputation for quality student numbers”. What regions do you think have been neglected and where do you see ‘quality students’ in India coming from?


    1. There is statistical evidence that regions such as East India, North East India, Tamil Nadu(Chennai and Coimbatore), Karnataka(Bangalore)… have more students opting for Degree programs and also have much lower instances of non compliance by students in student visas. There is absolutely negligible efforts in Market development in these regions in last few years. Even in other parts of India efforts are too small. Most of the residential schools in the hills are apt focus areas for quality students. It’s frustrating to institutions and their agents to find a “pull” for NZ quality education missing in the marketplace.


      1. NZ Institutes however spend more time and money in Punjab (or North India) than compared to any other part of India. NZ Institutes I spoke to believe that South India (Hyderabad & Chennai) is not good market for NZ, but again they need to understand that they need to create awareness here in South India. USA & UK get more students from this market and they need to tap into this market and create a brand – I think all these years they have only concentrated on Punjab and Haryana belt


        1. Well Nishi i agree with you, put the point is that PTE’s are more frequent visitiors in punjab and Gujrat and some of them even opned their offices in Gujrat and some coming in punjab and As Ravi wrote in his blog that some PTE’s in NZ are also acting the way some Australian private institutes operated and eventually closed down, but i really dont know the reason why students from punjab specially ask for s specific PTE where they want to study in NZ.


          1. Khilandeep, even in the case of OZ, students often asked for some colleges by name. Word of Mouth ensures that student who is looking for an easy way in NZ finds an easy college.


  6. Respected Ravi.

    I’m residing in Melbourne and doing Marketing for a SVP RTO for last one year. I’ve just been to NZ for visit as I’m NZ citizen and also worked as Marketing Manager in PTE for 4 years in Auckland. But from the point of view in better settlement I moved just like your Brother in law.

    I’ve seen immense interest in students who wants to move closest destination in AU for further studies. which means even the students who has already selected NZ as study destination are on verge of movement once again.

    Don’t you think with current situation in Australian markets where there are new 55 SVPs are on run once again. Creates a market for those student who wants to further study (for any reason) but not in NZ though they are in Nz (as of 64% decline rate in VISAs). These students fall into GTE criteria for SVPs comparatively more better than lots of North Indian students. Moreover they have got the enough exposure and resources too, which gives them an advantage to move over straight away from Nz to Au rather than going back to India and reapply for AU.

    The switching ON and OFF AU/NZ student immigration pretty much seems like a political economic issue when it comes to the education industry. NZ can only be a real destination when there is promise of the quality qualification which can help a student to get into better settlement worldwide or at least it gives them a good chance to get settle over there or back home. Which NZ fails almost in both. Again than Australia comes up like a superman for those immigrants. Either its studies or job for better settlement but AU is much better than NZ. Even in past 5 years almost a big chunk of NZ population has moved to AU for better lives.
    So other than a few people of Omega taste. Not much people sees NZ as a final destination for the up-giving view. What I feel is that NZ can be a good destination for a better quality of students only when the promise of settlement for quality students is presented. Otherwise the marketing for the PTEs is going to be bracketed only under the North Indian market as I totally agree with Mr. Nishidhar.


  7. Hi I am planning to go NZ for 1year course in IT. So pls can anyone tell me how difficult its to find job in IT field. And how much time it will take to get PR


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