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New Zealand introduce improved visa, working conditions

Read the latest developments in working conditions for students in New Zealand, as well as a new pilot scheme for faster visa processing.


New Zealand have revealed new policies which will vastly improve the lives of students from abroad who are studying in the country, including the fast-tracking of visas and unlimited working rights for certain students.

Steven Joyce, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, revealed the following last week:

  • Students on courses which last at least a year can work full-time during all holidays between terms. Previously students could only work during the summer. English-speaking students who are enrolled on a course lasting at least 14 weeks will be allowed to work, with no language requirement to meet. Previously students had to be enrolled on a course lasting at least 6 months, and they had to apply for a special variation on the terms of their visa. This will come into effect from January 2014.
  • Meanwhile PhD and Master’s students can now work unlimited hours, including in term time and for however long they wish per week. Under the old rules, students could only work for up to 20 hours a week. These types of students can also apply for a one year work visa when they graduate, so they can remain in the country. Ministers hope this will lead to an increase in international students who remain to work in the country, and invest back into the economy.
  • Immigration New Zealand will trial a pilot scheme with 25 category one providers to offer streamlined and prioritised visa processing on a student-by-student basis. If successful, this will be rolled out to further providers throughout 2015. However, INZ will no longer grant student visas to those enrolled at “lower quality” category 4 providers.


Minister Joyce said that the aim of these new rulings was to remain ‘competitive’ with other study destinations in the world, including Australia.

Andrew Wharton, speaking from our Hotcourses Australia office, had this to say: 'It’s great to see international education in New Zealand being so well supported by the NZ government. These policies come hot on the heels of the recent $40 million government investment to further support students coming to New Zealand from countries such as China, India, South-east Asia, and South America, as well as the continued policy that PhD students pay the equivalent of domestic student fees.'


Read more....

‘Working while studying in New Zealand’

‘Applying for a student visa in New Zealand’

‘Post-study work options in New Zealand’


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About Author

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.