New Zealand Immigration
Update: August 2018
On 8 August 2018, the Minister of Immigration announced confirmed changes to the post study work visa rules, after a period of public consultation.
The confirmed changes are a lot less drastic than what was initially proposed.
Impetus for change
The current post study work visa regime has been encouraging sub-par education providers to offer low quality courses, with the attraction of New Zealand residence. This was selling a ‘false dream’ to international students and was not facilitating a pathway to residence for those students who are likely to contribute to the skills that New Zealand really needs.
A further concern was that migrant employees were regularly being exploited by their employers, who they were dependent on to remain in the country.
What are the confirmed changes?
Removing the requirement for graduates to be sponsored by an employer, at any level;
Three year open work visas for degree level qualifications and above;
Two year open work visas for Level 4 to 6 qualification graduates (or non-degree level 7) outside of Auckland, provided the degree is completed by December 2021;
One year open work visas for Level 4 to 6 qualification graduates (non-degree level 7) in Auckland, with an additional year for Graduate Diploma graduates working towards registration with a professional or trade body;
Requirement to be on the Long Term Skills Shortage list for students studying towards Level 8 qualifications who want to support their partner for an open work visa, or children for student visas allowing domestic status.
Who will be impacted?
Students looking to complete lower level qualifications, particularly in Auckland. Their post study work rights will be significantly limited.
Regional education providers and Universities can expect to receive a boost in international student numbers.
Students studying degree level or higher qualifications will benefit from three year open work visas, upon graduation.
Employers will have more flexibility to hire foreign workers on post study work visas, without the immigration paperwork.
The changes will be in place, from 26 November 2018.
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