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Post the pandemic, number of students willing to step outside the country to pursue their higher education has shown a significant jump. Even as US, UK, Canada and Australia remain their topmost choice New Zealand wants to position itself as an attractive destination which promises to offer world class academic and employment opportunities.

Dr Erik Lithander, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, and Ainslie Moore, Director International, University of Auckland were recently in India to find ways to grow their international student intake for the next academic year and helped us understand why the country should be considered by Indian students.

‘We're making India our number one priority post-pandemic, we're going to put most effort in terms of developing our research partnerships, and identifying the best students to attract to New Zealand. It’s a terrific time to start building some program for students even come to visit India,’ Dr Erik Lithander states.

'Our first priority is to get back to the pre-pandemic Indian student admission number and then to see where we go. The second thing I'd say is that we want to make sure that Indian students are aware of everything that we do.’ according to Ainslie

But, why New Zealand? What does the country have to offer Indian students who prefer UK, US, Canada and even Australia above them?

Dr Erik outlines two main reasons, academic opportunities and career possibilities. ‘University of Auckland is the number one ranked university in the country, we're comfortably in the top 100, 12 of our disciplines are in the world’s Top 50 and recently, in particular, we've been in the world top 10, and two major rankings for sustainability.’

He further adds, ‘We're ranked number one for employability in New Zealand and top 60 worldwide for graduate employability and reputation. In fact, the New Zealand economy at the moment is essentially at full employment. For students who come over now, to get a part-time job during their studies is incredibly easy and the post-study opportunities are terrific because New Zealand has for one year master's, you get three years of work rights.’

Employment opportunities beyond finishing a degree is a concern for students willing to study abroad. Ainsile quotes a study claiming New Zealand offers more skilled, degree-level jobs to international graduates than any other country. For one degree-qualified international student whose job title suggests they could be under-employed there are nearly 10 other degree-qualified international students who have job titles.

The top 10 occupations when applying for skilled migrant visa categories for international degree graduates from universities were: (1) Resident medical officer, (2) Accountant, (3) Early Childhood teacher, (4) Retail manager, (5) Café or Restaurant manager, (6) Marketing Specialist, (7) ICT customer support officer, (8) Secondary school teacher, (9) Developer programmer and (10) Software engineer. These occupations were the basis of 36% of all approved skills-based work visa applications for our study population.

‘If you are graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, you should be going into it adds go skill level three or four, we can look and see whether or not our graduates when they're reporting their tax balance occupations is such that they're going into skilled professions that equate with the disciplines very involved,’ Ainsle claimed.

What kind of student life does New Zealand has to offer?

‘Auckland is ranked the world's most diverse city. So, we have an incredible mix of people, including a significant Indian diaspora. Indian students find will get just the right amount of familiarity when they arrive in Auckland because they will meet with members of that diaspora they will be able to get the foods that they like they have to get cultural experiences that they miss. At the same time as they're immersed in this incredible mix of other cultures,’ Dr Erik stated.

How easy is it to get a permanent residency in New Zealand?

Ainsle says, ‘The way that permanent residence is skilled migrants need to reach a certain pay threshold and it's 85% of the median salary. Three years, about three years is enough time to get there. So, you have the experience points, if you've been working in your discipline, you have a job in your discipline, and you're earning that salary threshold, then you have enough points to practice permanent resident.’

‘New Zealand is the hidden gem that's waiting to be discovered, I think students have got a terrific proposition because if you combine scenery, safety, diversity, quality of education value for money, I don't think there is a better proposition than New Zealand and what we're trying to do, is to get that message out and to make sure that we can communicate that to students’ Ainsle concluded.

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