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April 13, 2014 | by  | in News |
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A First Time for Everything

New Zealand First wants to introduce a universal student allowance for all full-time university students, as well as limiting the ability of international students to work while studying.

NZ First’s Education spokesperson Tracey Martin told Salient that it was “unacceptable” that students “are the only group in our society where it is governmentally approved that they are forced to borrow to live.”

“New Zealand First will remove income tests and introduce a universal living allowance for all full-time students in tertiary education.”

“It is our view that if our society believes it is a right to tertiary education, then it is a right that is not dependent upon one’s parents’ income. It is also worthy of note that while our policy would provide a universal living allowance, it is also likely that students may, at times during their study, [be] require[d] to work part-time.”

Martin also said that it was “unacceptable that 70,000 work visas can be issued to foreign fee-paying students while New Zealand students struggle to find part-time work.”

“New Zealand First is doing policy work in this area, looking to the Australia foreign-fee-paying student criteria as an example, that would protect the ability of New Zealand students to gain part-time employment while studying.”

Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Grant Robertson told Salient that Labour thinks increasing the hours international students can work “runs the risk that we will attract more students for that reason than the quality of study.”

“There have been examples of private training establishments that have been nothing more than fronts for immigration scams, and we need to do everything we can to avoid that,” Robertson said.

The Government changed work restrictions for International Student Visa holders in 2013. The changes have allowed more students learning English in New Zealand to work part-time. They have also given full-time work rights during holidays to international students who are studying here for a year or more, and unlimited work rights to international PhD- and Master’s-by-research students.

NUMBERS
$175.96 – amount you can borrow for living costs
$210.88 – amount you can get from Student Allowance
$55,027.96 – current parental threshold for Student Allowance
91,732 – number of international fee-paying students in New Zealand in 201

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