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Part-Time Work Opportunities for International Students in New Zealand

Going to study in New Zealand? Check out some of the part-time work options students can pursue in New Zealand.

Mahesh Ramani

International students on a student visa are allowed to work part-time up to 20 hours a week during classes and full-time on scheduled holidays.

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New Zealand is a country of immense natural beauty. With rolling mountains, dormant volcanoes, lush forests, enchanting lakes and the ocean surrounding the islands; New Zealand is a nature-lover’s paradise. Comprising two islands - the North and South Island; the country is often overshadowed by its larger neighbour Australia. In addition to being a popular tourist destination and a scenic locale for movie shoots; New Zealand is a leading centre of higher education in its own right.Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin are the important cities in New Zealand. Some of the leading universities in New Zealand that attract international students are - University of Auckland, University of Otago, University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University. This article examines student-life life in New Zealand, the various part-time work options available for international students and post-study work opportunities in New Zealand.

Student Life in New Zealand:

New Zealand consistently ranks among the top 20 countries in the world for happiness and peaceful living. With a strong government in place that focuses on ensuring the best for its people, the educational system is one of the finest in the world. In fact, New Zealand was among the first few countries in the world to set up a ‘Code of Practice’ for institutions admitting international students. This ensures that the interests of the students are protected and they get full value for the fees that they pay. With a strong Asian expatriate community, international students will not feel out of place in New Zealand.A strong public transport system, easy connectivity and multiple accommodation options with self-catered and full board options make living easy for students. The cost of living varies from city to city and students should plan their expenses with care to lead a comfortable and focused life.

Laws Pertaining to Part-Time Employment:

  • International students on a student visa are allowed to work part-time up to 20 hours a week during classes and full-time on scheduled holidays.
  • International students aren’t allowed to be self-employed. They must work as a worker (or employee) with an employment agreement, and not as an independent contractor.
  • Students of a masters by research or doctoral degree at a New Zealand institution may work full-time while they are studying.

Prospective students who aspire to study in New Zealand can visit the Immigration Department’s website for more details.

Popular Part-Time Jobs:

  • Data-entry work
  • Translation assignments
  • Attendant in super-markets
  • Attendant in small restaurants
  • On-campus opportunities to work in the campus library, laboratory, etc.


The minimum rates that apply to starting-out workers, and employees on the training minimum wage (before tax), are:

  • $11.40 an hour, which is
  • $91.20 for an 8-hour day, or
  • $456.00 for a 40-hour week, or
  • $912 for an 80-hour fortnight.

Wages will be taxed; every student needs to apply for and secure an IRD (Inland Revenue Department) Number before they can start working.

Post-Study Work Rights:

There are two types of post-study visas available - the open visa and the employer-assisted visa. The first visa gives students a chance to find a job within 12 months of completing their programme. It is like an extended visa. The employer-assisted visa helps students to stay and gain work experience from two to three years.  Students can then apply for a New Zealand resident visa under the Skilled Migrant category.

Positive Vibes:

The New Zealand government encourages students with a good academic score to find a suitable job and settle in the country. This is in sharp contrast to many other leading countries, which have a tendency to make it quite difficult for international students to get an extension on their visa once they graduate. Students with an entrepreneurial bent of mind will also find favour with the administration to start a business and generate employment opportunities in the local community.

We hope that you found this article useful. Please share your thoughts and valuable feedback in the ‘Comments’ section below.

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