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Extended working rights for overseas students in Christchurch, NZ


The government of New Zealand has announced an extension of the working rights of international students based in the Christchurch area, badly hit by an earthquake early 2011, as part of a drive to rebuild the local economy.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy announced on 9 August that the extension of work rights would give a boost to the region's export education sector, which has suffered since the quakes began in September 2010 and more so after the February 22 quake that killed 185 people last year.

"Foreign students are an important industry for Canterbury, but numbers have taken a hit since the major earthquakes […] This new initiative will help attract more international students to Christchurch, stimulating the industry and local economy," Minister Guy said in a statement.

Students would be eligible to work 20 hours a week provided they were studying an English language program of at least 14 weeks duration or a Level 4 Foundation Certificate of one academic year. Work rights will initially be extended for an 18-month trial period.

So far, only part-time work eligibility for English language students was limited to those who already had a reasonable level of English and were enrolled in programs of at least six months.


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