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New Zealand Post-study work visa policy changes from 26 November

On 8 August 2018, the New Zealand government announced changes to the Post-study work visa policy to ensure that post-study pathways for international students are fit for purpose and provide the skills and qualifications New Zealand needs. These changes will come into effect on 26 November 2018.

The changes will:

  • remove the employer-assisted post-study work visas at all levels
  • provide a 1-year Post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications, with an additional year for Graduate Diploma graduates who are working towards registration with a professional or trade body
  • provide a 2-year Post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications outside Auckland, provided study is completed by December 2021, at which point the entitlement for post-study work rights reverts to a 1-year Post-study open work visa
  • provide a 3-year Post-study open work visa for degree Level 7 or above qualifications
  • require international students studying Level 8 qualifications to be in an area specified on the Long Term Skill Shortage list in order for their partner to be eligible for an open work visa.

Answers to frequently asked questions and fact sheets are available on INZ’s website, including in nine foreign languages

Frequently Asked Questions

When will these changes take effect?
26 November 2018.

Who will be eligible for post-study work visas?
The eligibility for this visa is not changing. You may be eligible for a post-study work visa if you
have completed a programme of study that results in:
– A qualification at level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework that you have
studied for at least 30 weeks in New Zealand; or
– One qualification at levels 4-6 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework that you
have studied for at 60 weeks in New Zealand; or
– Two qualifications at levels 4-6 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework that you
have studied for at 30 weeks each in New Zealand (a total of 60 weeks), where the
second qualification is of a higher level than the first.

What’s changing with post-study work visas?
From 26 November 2018, the conditions and duration of post-study work visas will change.
Visa conditions:
 Post-study work visas will be granted with ‘open’ work conditions.
 This means that your work visa won’t be linked to any employer and the employerassisted
post-study work visa will no longer exist. You won’t need a job offer to get a
post-study work visa.

Visa duration:
 The open post-study work visa will be granted for one, two, or three years, or for the
remainder of the time left on your visa if you hold an existing employer-assisted visa.
 The duration depends on various things, including the level of the qualification you have
gained and where you completed your qualification.

How will these changes impact me?
The changes will impact people in different ways. INZ’s document of FAQs provides information
based on the situation that applied to you when the announcements were made on 8 August
2018.
 Transitional policy for those already studying on 8 August 2018
 Future students
 Current post-study work visa holders
 Supporting a partner’s work visa

What do “open” work rights or conditions mean?
“Open” work rights/conditions mean that your visa is not linked to any employer. You can
work in almost any job (excluding the provision of commercial sexual services), for any
employer, anywhere in New Zealand. You can use your post-study work visa to get some
valuable New Zealand work experience.

Transitional policy for those already studying on 8 August 2018
There are transitional policies that ensure a seamless transition for people who had applied for
or already held a student visa on the 8 August 2018. Certain requirements must be met for the
transitional policy to apply.
IHow do you determine if I’ve studied in or outside Auckland?
If the campus you study at is within the territories covered by the Auckland Council and is
listed as being in Auckland on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority website , we consider
that you have studied in Auckland.
I intend to study a Graduate Diploma. What types of registration will qualify for an
additional year of post-study work?
If the registration authority is listed in the Immigration Instructions and on the INZ website,
you will be able to apply for a second one-year post-study work visa.
Current post-study work visa holders
I hold an open post-study work visa, how will these changes affect me?
If your open work visa expires after these changes take effect on 26 November 2018, you will
be eligible to apply for a further two-year open work visa when your visa is nearing expiry.
If your open work visa is due to expire before the changes take effect on 26 November 2018,
you can apply for an employer assisted post-study work visa before 26 November 2018. You
will need a job offer relevant to your qualification to apply for this. If you want to, you will be
able to apply for a variation of conditions to have the employer conditions removed – see the
next answer if this applies to you.

I hold an employer assisted post-study work visa, how will the changes affect me?
From 26 November 2018, you will be able to apply for a variation of conditions to have the
employer conditions removed from your work visa. This means the job and employer
conditions stated on your work visa would be removed.
If you plan to stay in your existing job, you may choose to stay on your current employer
assisted post-study work visa. However, you will need to apply for a variation of conditions if
you plan to change your job, employer, or location of work.
To apply for a variation of conditions to have the employer conditions removed you must
complete an Application for a Variation of Conditions for holders of a Post-Study work visa –
Employer Assisted (INZ 1243), pay $190 and send it to your nearest Immigration New Zealand
office. See www.immigration.govt.nz/contactus for office addresses. The application form will
only be available from 26 November 2018.

Supporting a partner’s work visa
As a student, am I able to support my partner’s work visa?
From 26 November 2018, you can support your partner’s work visa application if you are
studying a Level 7 or 8 qualification, provided the qualification is specified on the Long Term
Skill Shortage List, or a Level 9 or 10 qualification. If your partner is granted a work visa, their
dependent children will not be required to pay international student fees to attend primary or
secondary school.

If you are studying a level 4 to 6 qualification, you are not able to support your partner’s work
visa application. However, your partner can apply for a visa in their own right.

I plan to study a Level 8 qualification, am I able to support my partner’s work visa?
If you and your partner have applications accepted for processing by Immigration New Zealand
before 26 November 2018, you can support your partner’s work visa regardless of your area of
study. If you apply on or after 26 November 2018, you will only be able to support your
partner if your qualification is on the Long Term Skill Shortage List.
You and your partner must also meet all normal visa requirements.

Can I support my partner’s work visa after I have finished my study?
Post-study work visa holders are able to support their partners for work visas, provided they
meet usual partnership requirements. In turn, dependent children are eligible for student visas
and are regarded as domestic students for the purpose of all tuition fees at primary and
secondary schools for the period of the parent’s work visa.

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