International Students

In 2017 more than 130,000 international students were enrolled to study in New Zealand, their student fees contributed over $1.5 billion to our education system. The billion dollars is only half the story, as these students also contributed at least the same amount again on living costs in their host communities.When factoring in accommodation, food, travel and activities the international student market contributed $4.5 billion to New Zealand, making it our 4th largest export.

The benefits of international education extend beyond the economic contribution to New Zealand. Young New Zealanders live and learn alongside people from other countries, increasing their understanding of other cultures and boosting our links with the world. These international connections are vital for us to prosper in an increasingly Asia-Pacific world.


Auckland continues to enrol the majority of international students in New Zealand, representing 63%. The next largest host regions include Canterbury (8%), Wellington (6%), Waikato (5%) and Otago (4%). The ITP and PTE (including ELS) sectors were key drivers of regional growth in 2015.


New Zealand sees more primary schools entering the industry (often in partnership with local secondary schools). Younger students and their guardians represent high economic value, with opportunities to pathway through the system. In 2015,there were 1,830 international student enrolments in primary schools. Three markets – Korea, China and Japan – made up 79% of all international students.


Intermediate / Middle School:

There were 689 intermediate schools enrollments in 2015.  Korea and China alone made up 87% of the international students.


High School:

In 2015 international students contributed $120 million in fees to the secondary school sector. Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Brazilians made up the biggest group of students.


Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics:

The ITP sector was the second-fastest growing sector in 2015, up 23% (+3,311) on 2014. China and India combined accounted for 71% of international student enrolments. Based on all international student enrolments at ITPs during 2015, the most popular fields of study were management and commerce (34%), society and culture (17%) and information technology (11%). 



There were 26,024 international students enrolled at New Zealand universities in 2015. Most university international students choose to study in Auckland. All of New Zealand’s universities have at least one campus in Auckland.


Language School

The English Language Sector experienced a steady result in 2015, with 21,005 student enrollments, up 2% compared to 2014 (+457).


Short Term Programmes

Short term and holiday programmes are an increasing trend, in particular with Chinese students. This type of programme doesn’t require a students visa, instead the students will come to New Zealand for between two and four weeks for a mixture of travel and study. Many short term students were sent her because their parents are considering New Zealand as a location for them to continue long term study as a full time international student.


International Students Markets


China is an increasingly competitive market for student recruitment and partnership development. China is the world’s largest source of international students, but the rate of growth in outbound students is slowing, as more students are taking advantage of options to gain a foreign qualification in China. Concerns among graduates around rising unemployment has led the government to investigate which subjects have the highest unemployment rates after graduation. A list of 15 subjects including marketing, tourism management and animation, has been developed, and Chinese universities have been encouraged to scale down offerings in these areas. China is fast becoming an education destination in its own right, aiming to attract 500,000 international students by 2020 and is well on the way to achieving that goal. As its education system develops, China is seeking greater reciprocity and more in-country provision in its foreign partnerships. Providers have a window of opportunity to develop relationships with local institutions to deliver New Zealand qualifications in-market. It is important to note that China is very much an agent-driven market.



Japan is New Zealand’s third-largest source of international students and there are long-standing ties with New Zealand institutions. Relationships are at the heart of doing business in Japan and it can take many visits and several years to develop fruitful connections.  With a declining population and desire to re-ignite Japan’s economy, there is renewed focus on international education in Japan. The Japanese government has set strong goals around internationalisation and the development of globally capable talent to support Japan’s economic growth and competitiveness. There is also increasing interest from students in products outside the traditional English + Home-stay. Students are looking for opportunities that will enable them to develop their language skills along with other skills that will give them an advantage in their future careers. Japan’s internationalisation goals include both doubling the number of outbound students, from 60,000 a year now to 120,000 by 2020, and doubling the number of inbound students to 300,000 by 2020. Japan has initiatives in place, such as various scholarships, to support these aspirations. Japan is an agent-led market with a high proportion of students using agents to assist their preparations for study overseas. Since 2004, the number of Japanese students choosing to study overseas has declined significantly. New Zealand levels have generally followed this trend but we have seen positive growth in the last couple of years. The Japanese are more price-conscious than previously, due in part to the weakening Japanese yen and the strengthening New Zealand dollar, and the sluggish Japanese economy. However, there are many scholarships available for students considering study overseas.



Education is highly valued in Korea, with Korean families parents spending US$20 billion annually on private education. However, Korean students are increasingly becoming cost conscious, and are seeking more affordable, value-for-money options. New Zealand is seen as a safe, English-speaking education destination, and is especially popular with families looking for an international education for their school-age children. The challenge in Korea is to raise awareness of the New Zealand education offering in the face of increasing competition from domestic and foreign providers, greater English-proficiency of students, and consumers wanting a bigger return on their investment. Korea is the world’s third-largest source of international tertiary students, the majority of whom study in the United States, China, and Japan.


The top reasons why students want to study in New Zealand

1) Safe yet modern:

This country of just over 4 million people is an easy going and one of the safest places on this earth with high quality living conditions and a modern lifestyle. New Zealand has never seen war on its own shores and crime here is extremely low compared to America and Europe. The New Zealand government is also very stable and the New Zealanders are very outward looking and welcoming of new cultures.


2) British based education system:

The New Zealand education programs and degrees are based on the worlds most recognized and accredited education system- The British System- without the same expense.


3) International recognition of courses and degrees:

New Zealand qualifications are of a high quality and have a reputation around the world for being practical, modern and desired. All courses, programs and qualifications offered by New Zealand institutions are quality assured by the New Zealand government. Major employers around the world recognize New Zealand qualifications and employ New Zealand graduates.


4) Competitive Costs:

New Zealand offers very affordable tuition fee compared with many other countries around the world. Competitive tuition fees coupled with a low cost of living represents a good value for your money.

5) Multiculturalism:

New Zealand has a dynamic and harmonious multicultural society. Kiwis are friendly and pleasant and are opening their doors to offer you warm and welcoming environments. International students are highly respected in New Zealand and you will feel most welcome here.


6) Support Services:

New Zealand has a long history of teaching international students and New Zealand institutions are sensitive to the needs of international students. The “International Office” in tertiary institutions provides a high quality support service to help you adjust to your new environment and successfully complete your studies.


7) Recreational wonderland:

From the rugged mountains to the sandy beaches New Zealand is a land of great variety. This is also true of educational and cultural programs on offer to international students. Although New Zealand has a population of only 4.3 million and is similar in geographical size to the U.K. and Japan, its breathtaking scenery sets it apart from the rest of the world. New Zealand offers exciting landscape and recreational opportunities as well as great outdoors to treasure.


8) Work while you study:

All students on a student visa can work up to 20 hours per week during semester and full time during vacations i.e. 40 hours. Many New Zealand institutions offer a student employment service called ‘Student Job Search’ to help you find work.


9) Opportunity to settle permanently in New Zealand:

If you complete your course successfully, you automatically get a 12 months ‘Work Permit’ under the student visa policy. In most instances this permit will be done at your institution itself. This allows you to work full time in any job of your choice. However if you want to get a New Zealand Permanent Residency (PR), then you have to find a job that is relevant to the course that you have completed. Eg: If you have completed a course in IT, then you have to find a job as a programmer, analyst, etc. This will immediately give you a 2 years work permit with all rights like free medical, etc. Upon receiving this 2 years work permit then you can apply for PR and normally will get it within 5-6 months. If you do not find a job that is relevant to your course, you can continue to work in any job for 12 months and try and recover some of the investment you have made towards your study in NZ. You will that way end up by recovering a bulk of the fees you have paid and also end up with an international experience which will come in handy if you have to return to India. There are plenty of jobs in NZ, and while it may not be easy to get one, if you are good enough, you will easily get one. For more information please visit


10) No personal visa interview and NO outright visa rejection: 

The Immigration Department of New Zealand NEVER rejects a visa application outright without giving you a chance to explain. Compare this with other countries who do not give you an opportunity to mention your side of the story. As long as you are able to explain clearly why you have chosen a particular course, there is no danger of not getting the visa. We will help you with the course selection that will enable you to create a good ‘Statement of Purpose’ (SOP) that will help the visa officer understand clearly and give a favourable decision.


11) Further education after acquiring Permanent Residency: 

Once you acquire your Permanent Residency and if you want to study further, then you become eligible for study loans from the Government of New Zealand. You can avail of these loans and pay after you complete the course. Your dependence o your parents can stop after you get your PR. You can also continue to work as much as you like while pursuing your further studies after PR. The 20 hours per week restriction goes away.


Decision making factors

International students and what they are looking for in a school and beyond differ greatly. It is important to know your market before you start promoting your school. Working with recruitment agents are an easy way to get your message out there but it is difficult to find reputable agents and schools end up paying huge commissions. It is important the schools know the basics of the market and how to reach to perspective students.



Marketing is key, particularity is you want to avoid loosing a big chunk of your fess to offshore recruitment agents. There are a range of websites dedicated to student recruitment in North East Asia. You will need to ensure the material is written in the correct language and you tailor your message for the target market.


Cultural Awareness

Schools which show an awareness of the target students culture often do well in recruiting. Schools can provide Chinese language classes which also prepare their own students for an influx of international classmates. Providing the students a forum to showcase their culture isn’t just good for local students but also play a strong marketing role


Being Specialised

It is important to identify what makes your schools or education district special. Does the school provide unique courses, or is there support for the students to find part time jobs, or are their pathway opportunities to further study or work? The school’s story and what makes it special needs to be packages and marketing to your target market.


Comfort and Safety

There is a perception that the regions are less developed and safe than Auckland. Many internationals student parents would consider sending their students into the regions if they knew that the smaller communities were safer than central Auckland. Schools need to address safety in their marketing material.



Accommodation is a big part of the international students life. Many Asian parents would prefer to host their children with people from their country as they feel they will understand their child better and be able to provide ‘local’ food. Boarding schools and dormitories are a good way to attract Asian students. 



Most parents care a lot about their child’s academic record. Many schools cannot claim that they are a decile 10, so it is recommended they identify other measures of their academic ability, for example exam results, or past a students who have achieved in various fields. 


Marketing to Asia

Social Media

70% of prospective Chinese students use a smart phone as their primary tool for researching study abroad options. Korea and Japan have an even higher social media presence. The top search or research activities among these users include:

  • Overall, nearly 90% of prospective Chinese students indicate they will use social media when deciding on an institution or school.
  • 85% checked school information online (e.g., ranking, programmes available, costs);
  • 38% watched a video from an institution or school;
  • 28% posted a question to a school representative on social media;
  • 27% participated in a live chat.


E-commerce for Education

There are also e-commerce websites which specialise in internationals student recruitment, the sites on the right are an example of such sites.


Your Online Presence

Ensure that your public image is suitable, make sure your website is translated (professionally) into the target language. Highlight the school’s academic superiority and the extra activities open to your students. Regularly update the school news to grow your e-reputation.

News Reporter