Immigration Changes: Post-Study Work Rights for International Students and the Employer-Assisted Post-Study Work Visa

The Government has made changes to immigration settings that impact post-study work rights for international students.

These changes come into effect on 26 November 2018.

What does this mean?

Auckland Region:

International students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications are provided with the option to apply for a one-year post-study open work visa.

Outside Auckland (excluding distance/online learning):

International students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications outside Auckland, provided study is completed by 31 December 2021, have the option of a two-year post-study work visa. This is the result of a three year, time-limited incentive for international students to study outside Auckland.

NZ-wide:

Graduate Diploma graduates, who are working towards registration with a professional trade or body have the option of a two-year post-study open work visa.

All employer-assisted post-study work visas will no longer be an option for international students after 26 November 2018.

  • This means you won’t need a job offer to obtain a post-study work visa. However, if your open work visa is due to expire before the changes take effect on 26 November 2018, you can still apply for an employer assisted post-study work visa before 26 November 2018. You will need a job offer relevant to your qualification to apply for this.
  • If you want to, you will be able to apply for a variation of conditions to have the employer removed from your work visa when the changes come into effect on 26 November 2018.
  • If an employer has told you that you need to obtain an employer-assisted work visa to remain in NZ following 26 November 2018, then contact us immediately.

There is now a three-year post-study open work visa option for degree Level 7 or above qualifications.

International students studying Level 8 qualifications, who want their partner to be eligible for an open work visa, and in turn the partners’ dependent children to be eligible for fee-free domestic schooling, must be in an area specified on the Long Term Skills Shortage List.

Current international student or hold a current post-study work visa?

If you are a current international student undertaking a qualification that (once completed) will meet the qualification requirements as set out in current immigration requirements or currently hold a post-study work visa, then you are not impacted by these changes. However, you have options regarding what you may like to apply for if your open work visa is due to expire before or after the changes take effect on 26 November 2018.

Are you still eligible for a post-study work visa?

The qualification eligibility for the post-study work visa is not changing. You may be eligible if you have completed a programme of study that results in:

We know that immigration information can be a tad confusing, that is why we have compiled this summary for your convenience. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with us today.
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