New Zealand reports 43% surge in international student enrolments

New Zealand’s education sector has seen a remarkable surge in international student enrolments, indicating the country’s growing popularity as an educational destination. According to data released by Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills, Hon Penny Simmonds, a total of 59,306 international students had enrolled in New Zealand’s education institutions in the first eight months of 2023. This marks a substantial increase of 43% compared to the entire year of 2022, showcasing the country’s resilience and attractiveness to students worldwide.  

Various growth in other sectors 

The surge in enrolments has been observed across various sub-sectors of New Zealand’s education system. Notably, the English Language School sector experienced a staggering 347% increase, with enrolments rising from 1,565 to 7,001 within the same timeframe. Similarly, schools reported a significant uptick of 114%, reaching 12,662 enrolments and  universities experienced a 15% rise. Private Training Establishments (PTEs) recorded a growth of 13%, further emphasising the sector’s robust recovery. 

Minister’s statement  

Minister Simmonds expressed her satisfaction with the figures, stating, “Over 59,000 enrolments in just eight months, confirms that international students continue to find New Zealand an attractive education destination.” Furthermore, she also highlighted the significance of this growth, particularly for the university sector, which witnessed 27,535 student enrolments during this period. With a considerable number of learners potentially studying for several years, there exists a solid foundation for further expansion and development within the higher education landscape. 

Sector-wide recovery  

Although the numbers are still below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, the trajectory is positive, indicating a steady recovery for New Zealand’s education sector. The country’s educators are focused on diversifying their recruitment efforts to attract students from a broader spectrum of countries. Currently, China remains the largest source market, contributing 36% of enrolments, followed by India, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. 


New Zealand’s education sector’s significant increase in international student enrolments reflects its enduring appeal and resilience in the face of adversity. With a diverse range of educational offerings and a commitment to excellence, New Zealand remains one of the top choices for international students seeking quality education abroad.  Final enrolment numbers for 2023 will be released by the government later, Education NZ added. 


Stay tuned for further industry insights and updates in New Zealand and other major study destinations by visiting our blog. 

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