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.


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.
Related Articles
Or go back to overview
Home Buying, Selling & Moving Checklist

These helpful checklists will guide you thought some of the most important areas you and your lawyer need to address when purchasing or selling a residential property and also when moving.

Read More
on the move logo2
On The Move - A Practical Guide For Buying & Selling Your Home

Also includes comprehensive checklists to you don't miss out any important step as well as details on how to protect your assets and when you also need to consider a...

Read More
handing over keys
Australian Guide To Buying Property In NZ

Not all investments in NZ require consent from the Overseas Investment Office (“OIO”) but like many countries NZ has controls on overseas investment. Certain land is subject to OIO consent.

Read More
family trusts4
Family Trust Guide

This practical guide designed to steer you through the essentials of Family Trusts including: Is a family trust for you? Protection given by a Family Trust. Planning for your life. Duties of trustees and how to run a trust. Costs.

Read More
road to glenorchy small2
Guide To Buying Real Estate In New Zealand

Our local knowledge, experience and expertise will provide you with the support and advice you need for a successful property purchase, regardless of the size or complexity of the transaction.

Read More
chinese buyers
Chinese Buyers Guide To Buying Property in NZ

We have produced a practical guide on buying a home or an investment property in New Zealand in Mandarin.

Read More
wills estates2
Estates Booklet - The Closing Chapter

You’re catapulted into thinking about organising a funeral, whether it will be a cremation or burial and how to organise the day, and then you also need to think about...

Read More
Be the First to Know
Something for Nothing

Stay uo to date with our latest News, Views & Resources by subscribing to our newsletter. We promise to provide you with quality content & the latest industry news.