Changes to post-study work rights for international students…New Zealand

New Zealand has announced major changes to post-study work visa rights for international students. The new policy came into effect on 26 November 2018. New Zealand offers international students work visa rights, which could also eventually pave their way to permanent residency.

The government has announced that eligible international students can now avail a post-study work visa for up to 3 years. The decision was taken after a public consultation that received over 2,000 submissions.

The new policy removes the 24-month employer-assisted post-study work visa, which previously required a person to have a job offer relevant to their qualifications.

These changes came into effect just over a week ago, on 26 November 2018.

“This will offer international students extra time for their bid to work, earn and settle in New Zealand,”

“It is important from the government point of view that international students gain in-demand skills to help fuel the economic growth, and hence this policy change.”

The new rules will increase the subsequent settlement in regional areas and may also help reduce the risk of migrant exploitation.

“The duration of the work visa will now depend upon the level of course studied and the geographical location of study,”

“International students heading to regional areas will have more incentives attached to it… so my suggestion to them is to plan carefully to have a better future.”

International students who were granted a post-study work visa before 26 November 2018 will now have 1-year open work visa, or a 2-year employer-assisted work visa.

After 26 November 2018, they can apply to stay and work for up to 2 more years if they have got a 1-year open-work visa.

“It seems the government is very keen on open-work rights for international students,”

“Australia recently increased the eligibility requirements for employer-sponsored visas while the authorities in NZ have taken it a bit further by removing them altogether.

“The main aim is to discourage employer-sponsored visas to reduce the risk of migrant exploitation.”

International students willing to pursue bachelors or higher level courses may now be inclined to choose New Zealand over Australia.

However, the statement from Immigration New Zealand mentions that it is difficult to assess the impact of the new policy.

The statement reads – ‘It is not possible to precisely estimate the potential change in the number of international students who choose to study in New Zealand as a result of these changes.

‘This depends on a range of factors such as how important having post-study work rights is to a student’s choice of study destination, and providers’ efforts, supported by the Government, to grow the sector in a sustainable way.’


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