Under the previous arrangements students could receive a certain level of work rights if sponsored by an employer, but the new arrangements remove employer-assisted work visas.


When you complete your studies, and don’t wish to leave New Zealand, then there’s been some great news! As of 26th November 2018, new changes come into effect that will entitle you greater freedom to stay in the country after you finish your studies for up to three years. Afterall, who would like to leave this beautiful country? 

With this recent changes, New Zealand now offers the second most generous post-study work rights to International students in the world. 

The immigration minister Mr. Iain Lees-Galloway told a press conference during NZIEC that “Our changes to post-study work rights will boost New Zealand’s economy, reduce student exploitation and promote our regional education offerings”. 

Under the previous arrangements students could receive a certain level of work rights if sponsored by an employer, but the new arrangements remove employer-assisted work visas. The changes have been introduced to allow international students to take ample amount to find the right opportunity for them. There will no longer be an employer-sponsored visa, in an effort to stamp out exploitation. 

Find below some details about the changes introduced by the types of degree which you can study in New Zealand. 

NEW VISA APPLICANTS (This table applies if, on 8 August 2018, you did not hold a student visa and you did not have a student visa application accepted for processing by Immigration New Zealand.)

Source: NZ Immigration website

If you study a Level 7 or above degree:

Under the new rules, international students completing level 7 bachelor's degrees, or above, will be automatically provided a three-year open work visa. So, while having a student visa upon arrival in New Zealand, you know that you have the option of staying in the country for up to three years to look for the best suited job as per your preference. 

International students who are already in New Zealand, holding a student visa in the country, will also automatically receive the new three-year open work visa. 

All in all, these are positive changes for you as an international student. With the new visa scheme in place, New Zealand will be the second-best country in terms of its ability to offer post-study work options for those who come to study there from overseas. 

If you study a Level 4-6 degree for a minimum of 60 weeks:

Lower level students studying for at least 60 weeks will be given a one-year work visa, which gives you the opportunity to search for a job for 12 months, and also you may look at applying permanent residency under the Skilled Migrant Category if you meet the relevant criteria after the 12 months. 

International students studying this type of programme outside of Auckland and are due to graduate before December 2021, are eligible for a two-year post-study open work visa. However, if you finish your education post December 2021, your visa allocation will revert to a one-year open visa, with an extra year added only if you are studying towards registration with a specific professional or trade body. 

If you're more comfortable about studying in New Zealand now, start browsing courses in New Zealand.

You may look at applying for Visa extension under new regulations if you are in the Christchurch area. Visit the NZ Immigration website or contact us for more information.

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