Protest today against rip-off of overseas students

By   /   February 23, 2018  /   5 Comments

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A group of Chinese students are demanding that the government help them after NZQA have closed their school and discovered that the owner has stolen most of their money. 

Justice for overseas students: Protest 2:00pm Friday at 280 Queen St called by Unite Union and the Migrant Workers Association.
The following report is based on media releases by Unite Union and the Migrant Workers Association.
A group of Chinese students are demanding that the government help them after NZQA have closed their school and discovered that the owner has stolen most of their money.
The students have been told by NZQA that despite paying $14,000 and spending a year studying in New Zealand that their qualifications will not be issued and that NZQA cannot transfer them to another school.
Students at New Zealand National College (NZNC) were told by NZQA on 16th January 2018 that the school would be closed and qualifications not awarded. The students were told to either find a place at another school or apply for a Visitor’s Visa.
At the time NZQA announced the closure of the NZNC, a group of around 40 students were just one step away from graduating. Their final exam ended on 15th December 2017, three weeks before the official closure of NZNC.
Worse still, the students have discovered that the school was charging the Chinese Students $14,000 a year while charging some other nationalities only $6,000 a year. NZQA have told them that despite NZQA oversight, it’s up to the school to charge whatever they like depending on what country the students came from.
“We came to this country to study because we knew that NZNC was permitted by the New Zealand Government to teach a NZQA approved qualification but after we passed the course and just before our graduation day NZQA have told us that the qualification is worthless and that the owner has stolen our fees by not paying them into the Public Trust” said Frank, one of the students.
In discussions with NZQA about their options, the students were shocked to discover that the school owners had only deposited $6,000 of the $14,000 in fees charged into the Public Trust while pocketing the other $8,000. Further, NZQA told some students that the receipts given by NZNC were not “official”. Many students reported also that the school told them that all school fees must be paid either in cash or by bank cheque.
“We made inquiries with other students and suddenly found out that only Chinese students were charged $14,000 while other nationalities were charged $6,000” said Tom, another of the students. NZQA advised these students that schools could charge what they liked and if the students wanted to recover their money they would have to do it themselves.
While some of the Level 5 and 6 students were able to transfer to courses in other schools, NZQA have advised the group of Level 7 Business Diploma students that there are no other courses taught locally that can accommodate them and therefore the students are left stranded with no money and no qualification.
Worse still, the students have now discovered that many other schools will not accept cross credits from the course they completed and because NZNC undertook their own English assessments, something permitted by NZQA at the time, and that their English levels are just not sufficient to get entry into other courses.
Frank said “When we paid our fees and applied for a visa we felt so happy that New Zealand was inviting us to study a good quality qualification here. My parents worked so hard to save money for my study. Now, after I studied so hard for the course and waiting to graduate the Government has told me that I can’t have the qualification, that my money has gone and I can’t get into another course. They also told me that it’s ok for a Government approved course to charge $8,000 more simply because I am Chinese. Is this how New Zealand treats international students?”
Immigration lawyer Alastair McClymont has been advising the group of students commented: “It’s embarrassing as a New Zealander to have to explain to these students that their school was approved by the government yet we take their money, don’t give them the qualification and tell them that it’s ok to charge hugely different fees based on what country they come from”. Mr McClymont added that “at a time when the tertiary education sector is lobbying the new Minister of Immigration to not make any changes to the money-making scam that passes as an export education sector, we continue to hear these stories from students every day. Rather than the New Zealand Government falling over themselves to help these poor victims our Immigration system seems to be that it’s their problem, we’ve got your money, so just go away now.”
The ultimate irony is that the school operated 238 Queen St., just a few steps from the Auckland offices of Immigration New Zealand. That is why it has been chosen as the venue for the protest despite the school being closed.
To make even more of a mockery over the government’s concern for student victims, NZQA told the students that they would welcome any information about the school owner yet when the students went to the closed down school premises this week they found the owner still sitting at his desk selling the remainder of the school’s furniture.
“Why isn’t this thief in the jail” demanded Tom.
Joe Carolan, from the Migrant Lives Matter campaign, added: “It’s now a year since the National Government deported Indian students who were the victims of similar crooks in these schools. If anyone should be deported, it’s these education criminals, not their victims. Jacinda visited the Sanctuary occupation of the deportees last year and got a sound understanding of the issue alongside then Labour leader Andrew Little – I’m personally calling on both now to intervene on behalf of these young students before New Zealand’s name turns to mud”.
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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union


  1. Louis says:

    This happened to that group of Indian students that the National government deported.

  2. Muttonbird says:

    I’m quite happy for them to go after the National party for presiding over the corrupt international education industry, but I as a taxpayer don’t feel responsible for these people.

    Best they just put it down to experience and go home.

  3. Marc says:

    Yet another reason why we need more and stricter regulation of such educational institutes, as there is still too much cowboy in Wild West territory stuff going on.

    All fees should at least to their half amount be deposited in a government controlled depository, and only be released once students finished their education and sat their exams.

    That would still leave the institutions sufficient funds to operate while the remainder of fees are securely held, so cannot disappear into dark holes or into whose ever pockets.

    Also should there be industry wide band widths for fees, maximums and perhaps minimums to be charged, so that there is clearer guidance. Why should some students pay so much more, and others far less. Well, it may make some sense when accepting different income and living standards, but it must be within reason and limits.

  4. simonm says:

    This happened on the National government’s watch. Let the National Party, not New Zealand taxpayers, deal with the fallout and costs.

  5. Jack Ramaka says:

    John Key, Bill English & Simon Joyce should be addressing this shambles ?

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