NZ student visa applications drop 31%

NZ student visa applications drop 31%

The latest New Zealand immigration statistics have revealed a pronounced 31% drop in student visa applications from foreign students looking to study in NZ.

In 2019-20, there were 77,045 applications for student visas, which was a 31% drop from 2018-19’s 111,809 applications.

These numbers mean that the financial year of 2019-20 in NZ saw the lowest number of student visa applications for over 10 years.

This trend was seen across the majority of the countries from which New Zealand received applications from international students, the most pronounced being in China, which is NZ’s dominant market for international students.

Student visa applications to NZ from China drop 46%

In China, this year witnessed a staggering 46% drop compared to last year’s total number of applications, down from 34,626 applications in 2018-19 to a total of 18,638 this year.

The case was not quite as marked in India, as the total number of international student visa applications for NZ went down from 18,808 to 17,621, a decline of 6.3%.

Other international student markets for New Zealand that declined in their student visa applications from 2018-19 to 2019-20 were Brazil (numbers dropped by 39% from 2,860 to 1,746), Japan (decline of 31% from 3,794 to 2,623), South Korea (32% fall from 5,233 to 3,551), Thailand (32% drop from 2,616 to 1,783) and Saudi Arabia (a 55% decrease, from 1,147 to 519 applications in the year).

33% fall in full-fee-paying students applying to study in NZ

In terms of other groups of international student applications, numbers of full-fee-paying students applying to study in New Zealand also dropped by almost a third (from 68,847 to 46,241 applications).

There were also significantly fewer applications from international students looking to study English language, with the total number of applications dropping from 15,636 to 9,343 (more than 40%) over the course of the year.

Yet despite this marked drop in the total number of applications, New Zealand declined almost 10% more applications this year than last year.

This year, 827 more student visa applications were declined (a total of 8799) than in 2018-19 (7972 applications).

The statistics indicated that the overall NZ student visa rejection rate has shot up from 7.13% in 2018-19 to in 11.42% 2019-20.

Josephine Walbank - Reporter, Global Education Times (GET News)

Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.

Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.

You can reach her at

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