The discovery of a visa fraud ring involving hundreds of international students is evidence that the rules in relation to assessing qualifications and visa processes should be tightened, says Labour's Export Education Spokesperson Raymond Huo.
"The revelation about the student visa immigration fraud is a real concern because it comes on the back of a string of serious issues plaguing our export education industry.
"The sector injects $5 billion into our economy every year but the Government is failing to show any kind of leadership. It has left the export education sector to struggle alone under the difficult economic climate with no assistance from the so-called 'Super Minister' Steven Joyce.
"The credibility of the sector has nose-dived in recent years with the Asian education market using descriptions like 'ghetto education' or 'dumping ground' to describe New Zealand. This is not the kind of reputation we want.
"The Minister says the investigation into the fraud ring has tracked the problem applications back to two unaccredited agents in Beijing. The question must be asked why if they were unaccredited would their applications be accepted in the first place?
"While encouraging more international students to study in New Zealand, the Government must make sure the rules around assessing qualifications and the visa process are robust so that only eligible and qualified students come here.
"This is important as some of them do end up becoming New Zealand residents - so they are prospective migrants as well as international students.
"The export education sector is vital to our economy and our international reputation. It's time for this Government to take the issue seriously and show some leadership," said Raymond Huo.
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