Source: 1.


New Zealand is slowly turning into a popular destination for students in India. Mostly student pursuing Doctorate degrees and Master’s degree are the majority to visit NZ with a plan to get their degree and work there for a period of time to cover their education loan. Some may prefer to settle there but others come back with their degree to get an advantage in the market of their foreign degree and education as it has its own silver lining which you cannot get in a degree acquired in India.

But you must be aware that there have been some important changes in post-study work rights for international students in NZ. In this article we will try to cover all the changes in post-study work rights as precisely as possible to make you aware of the changes so that you can plan your after qualification time precisely and invest it to get maximum returns.

Now before you jump into any conclusion please keep in mind that these changes are intended to support the attraction of international students studying at higher levels and preserve a pathway to residence for those with the skills and qualifications New Zealand needs, specifically through the link between more generous post-study work rights to higher level qualifications. So while going through the article keep in mind that there is no negative side to the changes so read with a positive vibe.

Now before we move on to next points you need to understand the level which we see in New Zealand know as New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) which decide the importance of your qualification and that’s how you get one, two or three-year post-study work visa.

levels 1 to 3 of the NZQF means secondary school level qualification

After level 3 if they decide to work in any field without and further studies that becomes level 4.

Students who want to continue their study at a tertiary level can choose from a number of education options ranging from universities to polytechnics, private training establishments, industry training organisations and more thus studying for a degree/course higher than 4 and above.

Level 5 and 6 count as a Diploma which in India is covered as diploma or 11th 12th standard education.

Level 7 is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree or BSc in any field or in your case MBBS if you are pursing Medical (for e.g. Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or BSc in Chemistry)

Level 8-9 is equivalent to Post-graduate and Master’s degree.

Level 10 is equivalent to Doctorate degree which know as PhD.

Let’s begin with the changes one by one:

  1. Removing the employer-assisted post-study work visas at all levels;

Now this might seem a little scary as you read but don’t worry, in fact this change can be seen in a positive light as it turns out you don’t get a visa assisted by the person who employed, it removes your dependency on their shoulders for getting a visa to stay at any cost because the government will be providing at least a minimum one-year visa to every international student. But to better understand read next point.

  1. Providing a one-year post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 – 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;

Yes! You heard it right. Government has given compulsory one-year post-study open work visa to Level 4-6 and Non-Degree Level 7 qualification.

  1. Also providing a two-year post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 – 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 one-year post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 – 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;
  2. And for the majority applying for MBBS, Bachelors, Master’s degree i.e. Level 7 or above qualifications NZ government will provide a three-year post-study open work visa for.
  3. And for people planning to settle with family require international students studying Level 8 qualifications to be in an area specified on the Long Term Skills Shortage list, in order for their partner to be eligible for an open work visa, and in turn the partners’ dependent children to be eligible for fee-free domestic schooling.

For people who are wondering from when will these policies activated, these changes will come into effect on 26 November 2018. Now there are numerous reason why government is making this changes. Since there has been significant growth in the international education sector over the last few years, especially in below degree level qualifications. As a result, there has been a decline in the skill level of people moving through the immigration system and granted permanent residency.

Why are these changes made?

The government wants to ensure that post-study pathways for international students are fit-for-purpose and contribute the skills and qualifications New Zealand needs. In short they want to support the transition to these new immigration settings. These changes include a three year, time-limited incentive for international students to study outside Auckland. This is to ensure the benefits of international education are shared throughout all the regions of New Zealand, supporting the Government’s aims to lift regional investment, growth and productivity. These changes will be grand-parented, so they will not impact current post-study work visa holders or current students who are undertaking a qualification that (once completed) will meet the qualification requirements as set out in current immigration settings. These changes support the Government’s broader plans for a high quality international system in order to generate educational, economic, social and cultural benefits to New Zealand.

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