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Working in New Zealand

International students may be able to work full-time or part-time while studying and after graduating. It is important that students and families understand the criteria for visas, so here is our simple guide to working in New Zealand.

While you study

Study to Work Visa

If students are offered a job relevant to their field of study, they may apply for a two-year Study to Work Visa. The job must be an occupation listed in Part B or C in Appendix 6 of the Immigration Policy Manual.

Study must be full-time – that is, running for at least one academic year over eight months and two semesters, and worth 120 credits. This visa may be extended to three years for those with two years’ work experience who are aiming to gain membership or registration in a professional association.

After graduation

Temporary Work Visa and Graduate Job Search Work Visa

After graduating from a three-year New Zealand course, students can apply for a Temporary Work Visa. Students may also qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category.

If students haven’t found a job before graduation, they may apply for a Graduate Job Search Work Visa, enabling them to work for up to 12 months. They will have to show they have enough money to support themselves during this time.

To qualify, students must apply for a Graduate Job Search Work Visa no later than three months after the end of their student visa.

For families

Work visas and benefits

For students with NZQA Level 7, who have skills on the Long Term Skill Shortage list, spouses may qualify for a work visa and children will be able to use public education. If students gain only Level 5 or 6, study must be leading to Level 7 for family to be included.

Family may also qualify if students are studying for two qualifications at different levels, or one qualification at Level 6, with a minimum of 60 weeks’ study time.

This information is correct as of February 2017. For detailed information or any changes, please click here