How to Choose a Legitimate NZ Education Agent

spin, wheel, risk
Spin a wheel to determine your faith in New Zealand.

A friend told me a sad story about an education agent or marketing agent based in New Zealand who died of an incurable disease. He said, that this agent lived a very comfortable life during his heydays. But he died poor. In fact, when he was stricken with cancer he was selling home-baked food just to make ends meet.

I really think that he just served his karma. The whole story goes that he has deceptively recruited a number of international students to study in New Zealand. When the students got here, reality bit them and most went back home to nurse their wounds. He can’t even go back to the Philippines because the families are now going after him with anguish over their negative return of investment, loss of property to the bank, and their children back in the Philippines, jobless and starting all over again.

I wish the same will happen to the many agents who deceived fellow Filipinos. I have read many of them in a facebook page in Buhay Estudyante sa New Zealand.

I was not trafficked or deceived by my agent. But I have issues too in the whole recruitment process. I really think that something has to be done.

The probable reason why some prospective students are scammed is because of lack of information about what the education agent does and does not.

In my observation, the education agent is the link between the prospective student, the Private Training Establishment (PTE), and Immigration New Zealand (INZ). A legitimate education agent must have a license in the Philippines and be authorized by the PTE, through a letter of appointment.

The education agent only facilitates your student visa and cannot and should not guarantee a work placement or a permanent visa. Although he wishes that you’ll eventually get a work visa.  It is not his job to tell you too good to be true stories of landing a job easily and getting a permanent residency.

 In my experience, the education agent does the following:

  • Thorough Assessment. The agent will determine if you belong to the positive student profile so he can assess whether you are likely to be granted a work visa or not. He will also use this information to establish a logical pathway in the course you will take.
  • Selection of PTE. Agents have formal linkages with Private Training Establishments but not all. This means that as a client you can only choose from the PTE that he has likages with.
  • Selection of Course. The course that you will study will definitely be one of the courses that the PTE, which your agent has a linkage with, offers.
  • Application to PTE. Your agent processes your admission to the chosen PTE. PTEs with more aggressive International Marketing Officers usually gets the most number of students.
  • Medical Exam. The agent will give you a list of INZ qualified panel of doctors.
  • Application to INZ.  The agent will ask you to process and collate all your documents as listed on the immigration checklist and submits it to INZ.
  • Interview Preparation. The agent will give you the possible list of questions that the immigration will ask  during the phone interview and will probably help you to prepare for a mock interview.
  • Approval-in-Principle. The agent will be the first one to know if you are declined or approved in principle and will inform you of the immigration conditions before you get your work visa.
  • Miscellaneous. Some agents facilitate booking of tickets, airport pick-up and accommodation arrangements.

In my year of study, and after hearing so many stories of education trafficking. I made a short checklist that an education agent must have to be more credible.

  • Knowledge of NZ Immigration Trend.  A good agent considers the long-term implication of your student visa application. In order to do this, he has a good understanding of the New Zealand business climate, the potential changes of the skills requirement in New Zealand, as well as the changing immigration policies.
  • Track Record. A good track record is measured not by the number of clients granted a student visa but the number of clients who were successful to get an employer-assisted work visa and eventually a permanent residency. This is highly contentious and yet, an honest to goodness agent will know the potential of a student to succeed or fail. The latter is usually objectively declined by a good agent which saves the applicant money and heartache in the long run.
  • Objectivity. A good agent will tell you that not everyone will be successful in the student pathway. He will give you an objective account of the reality in New Zealand. He does not give empty promises of landing you a job easily and getting a permanent residency.
  • Fees. A good agent does not charge you exorbitantly, besides, he also gets commission from the PTE where you will be enrolled from.
  • Network. A good agent must have an elaborate network to schools, agencies and individuals. Networking is a very important strategy for success in New Zealand. Your agent must have a number of linkages to schools to choose from.
  • Reputation. A good agent has a good reputation. Ideally, the education agent, need to have an experience, studying or living in New Zealand for added credibility. Otherwise, his second-hand stories and testimonies from clients are still suspect.
  • Marketing Strategy. A good agent does not market New Zealand to high school graduates, college levels and college graduates without work experience. If they do, this means they don’t know what they are doing.

Beyond all the issues that are thrown at educational agents who are usually targeted as the culprit of education trafficking, there are also other players in the game worth looking into. Please see my next post.

Note: This is not an advise. Please see disclaimer.



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  4. ELLA TAN MAMPUSTI | 11th Apr 17

    Hi! I am just curious about the education agencies you mentioned. Have you had any assistance from one? If yes, what is the name of the agency? I am torn between going to CVE for help and applying directly to the school.

    • SJMF | 3rd May 17

      I have the same question. Is CVE a reputable agency?

      • ELLA TAN MAMPUSTI | 3rd May 17

        Hi! I actually just directly applied. I already received 2 offers from institutes. I will be starting my visa application soon after picking a school. Visa is DIY also for me. I’ll update you on how it goes, email me. 🙂

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