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Working in New Zealand

During Study :

Student can work up to 20 hours each week during the academic year provided he/she is enrolled in a full time course of study that meets one of the criteria listed below.

  • The student is undertaking at least 2 years long course at a private training establishment or tertiary institutions.
  • The course leads to a New Zealand qualification that qualifies for points under the Skilled Migrant Category of Immigration New Zealand's Residence Instructions.
  • The course is at least one academic year long and student is taking part in an approved tertiary exchange scheme.
  • Student is studying in year 12 or year 13 and has written permission from his/her school and his parents.

Student can work full time during the Christmas and New Year holiday period at the end of each academic year provided student's course of study is full-time and more than 12 months long. More information about work can be found here .

Work rights for dependents

Spouses of student on Work Visa can work full time in NZ. However, the dependents of students on visitor visa have no work rights.

After Study :

The post study graduate pathway has two steps:

  • Post-study work visa (open). This visa gives recent graduates up to 12 months to get a job in a field related to their studies. While they are looking for a job they are allowed to work in any job to support themselves.
  • Post-study work visa (employer assisted). This visa lets graduate students stay in New Zealand to gain work experience in their field of study for a further two years (or three years if work experience is required as part of a professional registration). This visa relates to a specific job with a specific employer.

After working on a post-study work visa (employer assisted) a number of years, graduates may have sufficient New Zealand work experience to apply for a New Zealand residence visa. If their work is in an occupation that has skill shortages, then this improves their chances of being allowed to stay, either with work visas or residence.