Press Release – NZ Immigration Service
A joint New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and Immigration New Zealand (INZ) led operation has resulted in action being taken against four Private Training Establishments (PTEs) found to be non-compliant with their obligations in respect to international students. The move follows a number of unannounced visits to PTEs by officers from INZ and staff from NZQA.
INZ will now suspend the processing of student visa applications for the four institutions for failing to comply with their obligations under the Education Act 1989 and the Immigration Act 2009. The suspensions will not be lifted until they are fully compliant.
The four PTEs in question are the National Institute of Studies (Auckland, Tauranga, Otahuhu and Christchurch), EDENZ Colleges Ltd (Auckland and Tauranga), Aotearoa Tertiary Institute (Otahuhu) and the New Zealand School of Business and Government (Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington). 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 says the breaches were serious and include students studying for less than the minimum 20 hours per week, misleading or poorly maintained attendance records and fee discrepancies.
“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 says.
“We are determined to maintain the integrity of the export education industry and New Zealand’s reputation as a quality destination and we owe it to the vast majority of high quality PTEs to take a firm stance on this issue.”
INZ and NZQA have had concerns over these four providers, which is one of the reasons they have been subject to inspections and subsequent action.
NZQA has also issued compliance notices to all four PTEs because of their failure to deposit student fees in full into their Student Fee Protection trust accounts and/or to keep accurate, complete and up to date student records.
If the four institutions fail to comply with their obligations NZQA has the power to impose new conditions, amend or revoke any existing conditions on their registration, and in severe cases cancel the registration of that provider.
NZQA’s Deputy Chief Executive, Quality Assurance, Tim Fowler, says the actions of the four PTEs have undermined the integrity of New Zealand’s export education industry, which has an enviable reputation and is worth around $2.7 billion a year to the economy.
“The vast majority of PTEs have an excellent reputation and do a very good job,” Mr Fowler says. “This action sends a strong message to the industry that these sorts of breaches will not be tolerated. “