Proposed changes to post-study work visas


New Zealand Immigration Update: July 2018


The New Zealand government is proposing to change the post-study work rights for international full fee-paying students.

Current rules

Under the current rules, qualifying international students will be granted a one year open work visa, for the purposes of finding employment that is relevant to their qualification.

If a student is able to find relevant employment, they can then be considered for an employer sponsored visa, of up to two years duration.

Impetus for change

The government is concerned that the current rules sell a false dream to international students, making them think that they can be put on a fast track to residence.  The consequence of this has been instances of fraudulent and unethical behaviour from agents, employers and education providers.

These changes are designed to ensure that the migrants who are granted residence have the skills that New Zealand needs.

Key proposed changes

  1. Removing the requirement for post-study work visas to be sponsored by an employer;
  2. Providing one-year post-study work visas for non-degree level qualifications, and a three-year visa for degree-level or higher qualifications.
  3. Requiring non-degree qualifications to have undertaken at least two years of study to obtain post-study work visa rights.
  4. Require international students studying level 8 or 9 qualifications to be in an area specified in the Long Term Skills Shortage List to support their partner for an open work visa or their children for domestic student status.

Who will be impacted?

  • Individuals looking to study in New Zealand as international students.
  • Education providers relying on international students to pay full fees.
  • Employers that regularly recruit foreign workers on post-study work visas.

Further information?

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