Some higher education institutions in New Zealand are cutting ties with a group of men alleged to be monopolising the recruitment of Indian students to the country, reports Radio NZ.
Warnings from Immigration New Zealand regarding the men’s control of the market, including charging exorbitant commission, led to the severance of ties, industry figures say.
“I have had confirmed there have been quite a few involved in the past who have now, because of discussions with Immigration New Zealand, stopped using these people,” says Christine Clark, of Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand, a group which represents most private tertiary institutions in the country.
“They were exploiting the sector absolutely dreadfully and I think is the issue.”
Clark said she had been told the group sometimes charged commissions as high as 60 percent of the fees paid by students.
The move comes in the wake of a document by Immigration New Zealand earlier this year which found the group of men is suspected to be running a network of recruiting agents, which last year accounted for 21 percent of all international student enrolment in New Zealand.
The men denied the allegations to Radio NZ, saying they are based on false information by business rivals.
To “clean up the market”, Paul Anderson from Auckland Hotel and Chefs Training School suggested a cap on agents’ commission rates.
“If we started to look at agents’ commission rates being capped throughout New Zealand, agents would be looking for great courses rather than great commission rates,” Anderson said.
While Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand would consider proposing such a cap, Clark predicts this will significantly reduce the number of Indian students to New Zealand.
According to state agency New Zealand Education, India is New Zealand’s second-largest and fastest-growing source country for international students. After rapid growth for the last five years, the number of Indian students is now on the decline after the country imposed tighter rules for, and monitoring of, study visa applications from India.