New Zealand is a high-quality study destination – in 2018, it was ranked the best English-speaking country in the world at preparing students for the future by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
It’s also a great place to work after studying, to start building your career, and most international students who study in New Zealand are eligible for a post-study work visa once they’ve gained their qualification.
Whether you have plans to study in New Zealand in the future or you’re already studying here, you need to know that the conditions and duration of post-study work visas have recently changed.
You can apply for a post-study work visa as soon as you gain your qualification, and you may be able to work in New Zealand for up to three years after you graduate, depending on your study choices. The changes give more generous post-study work rights to international students who have studied higher level qualifications in New Zealand.
Here’s what you need to know about the changes to post-study work visas.
Future international students
The new post-study work visa policy will apply to you if you’re planning to study in New Zealand or if you applied for a student visa after 8 August 2018. Your post-study work visa will:
- have open work conditions, meaning you will be able to work for almost any employer in New Zealand and your visa won’t tie to you a specific job or location; and
- be granted for one, two or three years, depending on what qualification you gain and where you study.
To find out how long you could work in New Zealand after graduating, see Immigration New Zealand’s information on staying to work after you’ve completed your studies. You may be able to stay for longer if you study outside Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city. We have high-quality education providers throughout New Zealand with strong links to local employers – there are rewarding job opportunities all around New Zealand.
Current international students
There are transitional arrangements in place for students who already held a student visa on 8 August 2018 (or who had applied for a visa by that date). To qualify, the course you’re studying must lead to a qualification that’s eligible for a post-study work visa.
For more information about the transitional arrangements and to see if you’re eligible for this, see the information on Immigration New Zealand’s website.
If you applied for your post study work visa before 26 November 2018
If you currently hold an open post-study work visa, you will be able to apply for a further two-year open post-study work visa when your visa is nearing expiry.
If you currently hold an employer assisted post-study work visa, you can now apply to have the employer conditions removed from your work visa. If you plan to stay in the same job, you don’t need to change your visa.
For more information see the information on Immigration New Zealand’s website.
International students with partners
While you’re a student, you can support your partner’s work visa if you’re studying a Level 9 or 10 qualification, or a Level 7 or 8 qualification on the Long Term Skill Shortage List. Your partner can then support a student visa for any dependent children, and they won’t have to pay international student fees to attend our primary or secondary schools.
If you’re not studying one of these qualifications, your partner will need to apply for a visa in their own right.
Post-study work visa holders are also able to support their partners for work visas.
Staying in New Zealand after your post-study work visa
When your post-study work visa is coming to an end, you may be able to apply for a further work visa, or might even qualify for a residence visa.
If the skills and qualifications you gain while studying here are a good match for our growing economy, you could build an exciting future in New Zealand.
Find out more from Immigration New Zealand