It is crucial to have a clear understanding of your work rights while holding a student visa to avoid any violation of visa conditions. It's important to note that being self-employed is strictly prohibited.

International, Tertiary Students

International tertiary students are eligible to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week, subject to certain requirements that include:

  • Studying for a course of at least two years between levels 4-6 or a course of at least one year at level 7 or above, OR
  • Participating in an approved student exchange program for at least one year, OR
  • Pursuing a course that leads to a New Zealand qualification that earns points for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category.

In addition, you may work full-time during all vacations throughout your study of at least one academic year, provided that:

  • You are studying full-time for at least 1 year, AND
  • Your course is for at least 120 credits, AND
  • Your course spans at least 8 months or 2 semesters.

International tertiary students have certain restrictions on the number of hours they can work while studying. However, during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, students enrolled in a course of at least eight months with a minimum of two semesters can work full-time.
For those enrolled in Masters by research or doctoral degree programmes awarded by a New Zealand tertiary institution, there are no restrictions on the number of hours they can work while studying. This means PhD and Masters research students have unlimited work rights.

English Language Students

English language students may be permitted to work while studying in New Zealand if they meet all the below requirements:

  • Courses must be at least 24 weeks in duration.
  • Study must be full-time.
  • The program of study must be at least 24 teaching weeks.
  • Students must demonstrate that the primary purpose of their study is to improve their English.
  • Students must have an acceptable English language test result that is no more than 2 years old (IELTS 5.0 or higher).

In addition, for courses that are at least 14 weeks in duration, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Study must be full-time.
  • The program of study must be at least 14 consecutive weeks.
  • Students must be studying the English language.
  • The study must be with a university or an education provider that has been assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority as a Category 1 provider.

Shorter English language courses may also qualify if they can be counted towards the 14 consecutive weeks and with the same education provider.

Secondary School Students

Students in year 12 or 13 at a secondary school who are at least 16 years old may have the opportunity to work part-time during school terms and full-time during the Christmas break. Before being allowed to work part-time, they may need written authorization from their parents and the school principal to vary the conditions of their dependent child student visa.

Working In New Zealand After Studying

Post- Study Work Visa

After completing your studies in New Zealand, there are several pathways to stay and work in the country. International students who have obtained a New Zealand qualification may be eligible to gain work experience in their field of study. The length of time you can work in New Zealand depends on your field of study, with some students being able to work for up to four years and potentially obtain residency.

We can assist with the visa application process to increase your chances of success.

Post-Study Work Visa (Open)

The Post-Study Work Visa (Open) provides a duration of up to three years for finding employment in a field related to your studies.
While holding this visa, you may meet the criteria for a New Zealand resident visa through the Skilled Migrant Category or the Green List category. If your occupation is in high demand due to skill shortages, this increases your likelihood of being able to remain in the country, either through work visas or residency.

The duration of your post-study visa is contingent on the course of study pursued in New Zealand.