Four private tertiary education providers have had their intake of foreign students suspended after they were found to be in breach of their obligations to international students.
An investigation by New Zealand Qualification Authority and Immigration New Zealand found students studying for less than the minimum 20 hours per week, misleading or poorly maintained attendance records, a failure to deposit student fees in full into their Student Fee Protection trust accounts and fee discrepancies at the Private Training Establishments (PTE).
The processing of student visa applications have been suspended and will not be lifted until the institutions are fully compliant.
The four PTEs from across the country are the National Institute of Studies, EDENZ Colleges Ltd, Aotearoa Tertiary Institute and the New Zealand School of Business and Government.
A total of 842 international students are enrolled at the four institutions. They will be unaffected by the suspension, which only impacts on new or undecided visa applications.
INZ General Manager Peter Elms said the breaches were serious and affects the global reputation of New Zealand’s education system.
“It is concerning that these Private Training Establishments have been operating in a manner that falls well below minimum standards and, in so doing, jeopardising the quality of the education provided to their international students.
"The actions of a handful of PTEs can have serious implications for the reputation of New Zealand as a quality education destination,” Mr Elms said.
NZQA’s Deputy Chief Executive, Tim Fowler, said the four PTEs had undermined the integrity of New Zealand’s export education industry, worth around $2.7 billion a year.
“The vast majority of PTEs have an excellent reputation and do a very good job. This action sends a strong message to the industry that these sorts of breaches will not be tolerated,“ Mr Fowler said.
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