Let’s be honest. Most if not all Filipinos who come to New Zealand to study do so in the hopes of landing a job and eventually securing permanent residence. I hate to rain on their parade, but unless you plan strategically, the chances of this happening is slim to none, not to mention a financially draining exercise of spending more than 1 million pesos. As the old adage goes “those who fail to plan, plan to fail” and I’ve seen too many sob stories of pinoy students who come here and let their entire life savings (or somebody else) go down the drain. So hear me out and don’t be one of those “casualties of war”.
The most crucial step is choosing the course you want to take. For starters, it has to be Bachelor’s level or above. New Zealand Qualifications Authority refers to this as Level 7. When you apply for permanent residency down the road, you will more likely gain the required points if you have a qualification rated Level 7 or above.
Secondly, carefully choose the right area of study that will lead to possible permanent employment. Having said that, take Immigration NZ’s so-called “skill shortage” list with a grain of salt. This list is more in-line with areas where the government project future growth. However, real employer demand does not necessarily jive with this forecast.
Take for example the nominated occupation of “multimedia designer”, which is in the government’s skill shortage list. But searching this job on Seek (NZ’s biggest job site) reveals very few part time, fixed-term roles that will not lead to permanent residency. After living here for quite a while, I learned that the following areas of study would be good choices for international students:
- Information Technology (networking, programming)
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Culinary Arts
- Early Childhood Education
- Health Sciences (Medicine, Dentistry, Radiology)
- Agricultural and Forestry Science
- Food Technology
- Social Work
Conversely, some of the worst degrees to take would be:
- Business / Management
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Graphic Design
- Arts and Humanities
- Human Resources
These are the sort of courses that schools and student agents like to push because they have low overhead costs so there are big profits to be made for enrollment in these areas despite a limited job market waiting for its students. They want your money (you pay 3 times what an average kiwi would pay) but they would not be held accountable if students get jobs or not. The international education market is currently a $2.5 billion industry so you can just imagine the lies being peddled to get people to sign up.
It does not guarantee success but choosing the right degree is half the battle. The other half is looking for a job within that field of expertise that I will discuss in the separate article.