Working in New Zealand after graduating as an international student

by Vincent — November 8th, 2020

What is a post-study work visa in New Zealand? These visas are also called post-graduate work visas. As of November 2020, this visa lets you work for any employer and in almost any job. The Post Study Work Visa lasts between 1 and 3 years depending on the level of your qualification and where you studied in New Zealand. Read more below.

Can I get work permit after study in New Zealand?

You can apply for a visa to work in New Zealand for up to 3 years after you finish your study. But you do need to have an acceptable qualification. If you have this, a Post Study Work Visa lasts for 1 to 3 years depending on the level of your qualification and where you studied. Remember, you can only apply for this visa once, unless you complete a second higher qualification at bachelor’s degree level or higher.

Study in New Zealand

 

Benefits of a Post Study Work Visa in New Zealand

When Immigration NZ grants you a Post Study Work Visa, there are some additional benefits. First, your partner can apply for a work visa. And, second, your dependent children can study fee-free as domestic students.

How do I get a post study work visa in New Zealand?

When you have successfully completed your New Zealand qualification you can apply for a post-study work visa. You will have 3 months after your student visa ends (or 6 months if your study was for a PhD) to apply for this visa. Just remember that you must always remain on a valid visa while you are in New Zealand. There are also some other requirements:

  • You must provide proof of your identity
  • And you should be in good health and of good character
  • You should also have completed a qualification in New Zealand
  • Don’t submit your application too late
  • And you should have enough money to live while you are in New Zealand

Apply for a NZ post study work visa

What can I do on an NZ Immigration post-study work visa?

With a Post Study Work Visa you can work in almost any job for any employer in New Zealand. Sometimes, you can do other study if it’s required by your employer as part of your employment. But remember this study this is limited to 3 months in any 12-month period.

IELTS is recognised by 10,000 organisations around the world, including employers in New Zealand. When you are applying for a job, make sure you have IELTS test results to show your English language proficiency.

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What are the job opportunities in New Zealand after I graduate?

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Read the video transcript

George Manjooran: What I liked about New Zealand before moving was like the work/life balance and the IT industry is still in the growth phase, so I thought maybe New Zealand is the right place for me to pursue my career.

Bob Stimson: I was looking for some new opportunities [and] I was looking for a change from the position that I was in. There was a very big need for structural engineers in New Zealand following the Christchurch earthquakes.

Connor Coady: The wind industry here in New Zealand is still relatively young compared with Europe and it’s very exciting to be part of an industry that’s growing.

Simon Shaw: We came over six months before we permanently emigrated and I went back with probably four or five job offers.

Lindsay Crummet: One thing that really drew me to the film industry in Wellington was that it seemed so accessible, especially in comparison to Los Angeles. It just seemed so easy that I was able to set up a meeting and meet Richard Taylor. So, it progressed to where I was finally able to get a job.

Willem Landman: There’s lots of opportunities for doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals anywhere in New Zealand. A very large proportion of our healthcare workforce is foreign-trained.

Peter Mathewson: We’ve currently got a worldwide recruitment campaign on the go for structural and geo-technical engineers, and we’re marketing across Europe, Ireland, through the UK, Canada, and USA.

And:

Scott Campbell: There’s still a real shortage of trained, experienced geo-special professionals. You’ll see there’s a lot more jobs on offer than there are CVs available. The industry is still growing, and we’re seeing the GIS area growing especially quickly.

Tony Stone: The skill gap that we find here at GNS in terms of recruitment is predominately experienced PhD scientists. Five to seven years’ experience, so overseas recruits are a core part of our need.

Adrian Matthews: In terms of career opportunities, my wife and I have both been really, really pleased with the number of opportunities that exist and that will exist in the future.

Simon Shaw: I think if you’re the sort of person that’s willing to give things a go, get stuck in, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a job.

George Manjooran: If you prepare well, if you do a proper job research, if you study the market well, it’s easy to get a job in New Zealand.

Is it easy to get a job after study in NZ?

There are many jobs available in New Zealand after you finish your studies. For some industries it is easy to get a job because they are in high demand. Other jobs are very competitive. See the list below with skills in need that make it easier to find a job after you study in New Zealand.

If there is a shortage of skill in New Zealand in your occupation, it will be easier to find work (and the necessary visa). To find out about this, research the labour market. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment produces a series of Labour Market Reports.

Check 10 tips for getting a job in New Zealand

 

List of skills in need in New Zealand (updated in 2020)

Long Term shortagesRegional shortagesConstruction and Infrastructure shortages
Agriculture and forestryNoYesNo
ConstructionYesNoYes
EducationNoYesNo
EngineeringYes NoYesYes No
Finance/businessYes NoYesNo
Health and social servicesYes NoYesNo
ICT and electronicsYesNoYes No
Recreation, hospitality & tourismYes NoYesNo
ScienceYesNo YesNo
TradesYes NoYes NoYes
TransportNo YesNoYes

 

Immigration New Zealand publishes information about the skills needed in New Zealand. Check the skills in need in New Zealand

If you study a degree at University in NZ, the Government allow you to work a certain number of hours per week while studying. And you can also to work during holiday periods. This depends on the duration of the course and other factors.

What should I do after a post-study work visa?

If you plan to live in New Zealand permanently the Post-study Work Visa provides you with an opportunity to obtain a skilled job, and get on a clear pathway for acquiring resident status. Some New Zealand visas require you to show English language proficiency. IELTS can help with this.

Book IELTS for migration to New Zealand

Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the New Zealand Immigration website for changes that may apply to you. If you are interested in New Zealand student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the New Zealand Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent. However, you can also get free advice for student visas.