2 Oct 2016

Foreign students 'misled' over life in NZ

1:51 pm on 2 October 2016

Government agencies are misleading international students about the reality of living in New Zealand, a university forum has heard.

Nanaksar Sikh temple in Manurewa. About 300 Indian foreign students eat here every day.

Hundreds of foreign students eat at the Nanaksar Sikh temple in Manurewa every day. Photo: RNZ / John Gerritsen

Speakers at an International Student Forum at Auckland University of Technology have detailed the problems they can face, including labour exploitation, high living costs, poor quality education and minimal access to residency visas.

University of Auckland international students' representative Yilong Chang said foreign students were forced to work long hours in low paid jobs, on top of their full-time study, in order to meet basic costs.

"The immigration website for applying [for a] student visa [says] it requires $15,000 for living expenses for each year, and if we divide it up to each week it will be $280 per week, which is impossible living in Auckland at the moment - unless you work."

Working more than 10 hours a week affected students' education and also the reputation of New Zealand's education sector overseas, Mr Chang said.

Indian community leaders say Indian foreign students are increasingly running into problems, including prostitution, crime, and exploitation by employers.

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