Work opportunities in New Zealand for International Students
Updated on Dec 4, 2015 - 3:23 p.m. IST by Manashjyoti
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Work opportunities in New Zealand for International Students:
With each passing year an increasing number of students from India travel to New Zealand to pursue higher studies, drawn to a large extent by the highly regarded universities of the country. But there is another, often downplayed, reason why students are heading to New Zealand in large numbers- it is the flexibility and scope of working part time in the country while also pursuing one’s study.  International students in New Zealand are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week to support their studies –the minimum wage is set at NZ $14.75. Apart from reducing their financial burden, these work opportunities in New Zealand are a great way for international students  to get acclimatized to NZ’s way of life, culture and get a first-hand experience of the job market.


Cost of pursuing a programme in New Zealand can be offset through earning from part-time work

An MBA course from any of the top universities in New Zealand can cost you a minimum of NZ $40,000. Now if you can find yourself a part-time job, you will be assured of NZ $14.75 per hour, which translates to around NZ $290 per week, assuming you work the maximum allotted 20 hours per week. So, by the end of the year, you will have almost NZ $15,000 in the bank, which more or less takes care of your living expenses and cuts into your tuition fees as well. This is what makes work opportunities for international students in New Zealand worth exploring. And don’t forget that NZ $14.75 is the minimum you will be earning; if you are lucky enough and have the skills, you can earn much more than that. Moreover, if you have a scholarship, getting a job would only help balance out the course fee and other expenses.

While work opportunities in New Zealand for international students are encouraging, there are certain criteria and visa policies set by the New Zealand government that students have to fulfill. Let’s check them out:

Working during the term

Using your Student Visa, you are permitted to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week, while during scheduled holidays, you can even work full time. The only concern while taking up a job should be that your work shouldn’t affect your studies, as it should be your top priority.

To take advantage of the 20-hour work window, you have to meet one of seven requirements. Three of the most common requirements include:

  • Your study programme should be of minimum two-year duration

  • If you study leads to a qualification which falls under the Skilled Migrant Category, you will be granted extra points which will expedite your request.

  •  You need to be pursuing an English language course covered under Immigration New Zealand

However, there are some special cases under which students may be allowed to work more than the prescribed 20-hour limit. These may include:

  • Programmes which require you to earn a set number of hours as work experience  

  • Masters by research or doctoral degree programmes at a tertiary institution in New Zealand allows students unlimited work rights

Use scheduled breaks to work full-time

Unlike during the term, there are many work opportunities in New Zealand for international students that allow them to work full-time during scheduled breaks.

If you are enrolled in a one-year academic programme which is worth 120 credits or more, you can work during all the scheduled breaks.

However, if it is a one-year full-time programme but is worth less than 120 credits, you might be restricted to working only during the Christmas and New Year holiday breaks.  Nevertheless, these are useful work opportunities that students can use to both earn money and get work experience.

Provisions under which your Student visa can be cancelled

While the visa policy of New Zealand is pretty flexible and accommodative, still work opportunities in New Zealand for international students come with certain restrictions that are meant to protect the interests of the country. 

To begin with, the immigration authority may reject your visa application if they have doubts about the bona fides of your intention for applying for the visa, or for that matter if they have reasons to believe that you might misuse the conditions of the visa.

Other reasons for not granting the visa may include:

  • Your being deemed ineligible for a visa under sections 15 and 16 of the Immigration Act 2009

  • If you are staying in New Zealand unlawfully, you cannot apply for the student visa

  • Failing to meet the health and character requirements also may lead to rejection

  • There are reasons to believe that you will use the visa to unlawfully stay in the country or there are signs you may flout the terms of visa

Employers demand that you get proper permission

Unless you have the documents to prove you have the requisite permission, employers won’t employ you. So, it is a good idea to have all work permits in place before approaching a potential employer.  


A receptive job market awaits you in New Zealand

One of the few countries that truly believes in work-life balance, the economy of New Zealand continues to grow at 3%, with many new jobs being created across all sectors of the industry as business  confidence looks up. There are large vacancies in professions like Agriculture and Forestry, Engineering, Business Management, Health and Social Services and Science which international students can take advantage of. These work opportunities in New Zealand make it a hot destination among students.

As per the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand, international students can apply for jobs under the Skilled Migrant Category. This literally means that if you have the skills that are in short supply, you will be in great demand and can expect handsome salary.

The occupations which have skill shortage have been grouped under three heads:

  • The Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL);

  • the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL); and

  • the Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL)

If your course is one of the programmes covered in the lists, it will be easier for you to find a job. Also, it is a good idea to make lists of which are the most important industries and sectors, and where there are shortages. By doing so, you can prepare better for these jobs and increase your chances. It actually boils down to how well you do your homework: the more researched and fine-tuned your approach, the better chances you have of getting a job.

Future students, who are looking to get admission at universities in New Zealand –all of which are ranked within the top 500 in the Top Universities in the World 2015 list published by QS, are advised to start their hunt for a job well in advance. They can even check out the academic discourses which are in demand in New Zealand–Engineering for example – and go for an academic programme that is more in sync with the job market. Remember, by utilizing work opportunities in New Zealand, you also get a first-hand experience of working with truly global business houses and learn the etiquettes of professionalism.


Stay tuned to for more stories on New Zealand

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Arden University, Berlin
Arden University, Berlin
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PTE- Pearson Test of English
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