Employment prospects in New Zealand
Want to work while you’re in New Zealand? Here’s how.
New Zealand is a top-ranking education destination that attracts students from all over the world. With globally-recognised universities and colleges, it offers a progressive and responsive education system to students. Unlike many countries in the West, New Zealand’s government encourages international students to find a job and settle in the country.
Working while you study
Working part-time can be a great way to help cover your living expenses in New Zealand, but also help you to gain work experience in your field of study.
Most student visas let you work for up to 20 hours per week during your course. To work while you’re studying, you must meet certain requirements such as:
- Your course is for at least two years
- Your study leads to a New Zealand qualification that gains points under the Skilled Migrant Category
- You are taking an English language course that meets conditions approved by Immigration New Zealand
In some cases, students may be able to work for more than 20 hours a week if this work forms part of their qualification.
You can also work as much as you like during your scheduled course breaks. If your program runs for one academic year and is worth 120 credits or more, you may be eligible to work full-time during the course breaks.
If your program runs for one academic year but is worth less than 120 credits, you may be eligible to work full-time during the Christmas and New Year holiday break.
You should double check your visa before staring any paid work.
In New Zealand, there are strict guidelines regarding basic wage corresponding to work hours before taxation. Nonetheless, wages will be taxed. Remember, if you want to work in New Zealand, you must have an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) tax number. To apply for one or for more information, visit the Inland Revenue website.
While studying in New Zealand, you can easily find work in some of the popular part-time job domains, as under:
- Data-entry work
- Translation assignments
- Attendant in supermarkets
- Attendant in Small Restaurants
- On-Campus opportunities to work in the campus library, laboratory, etc.
Your rights at work
Everyone who works in New Zealand, including international students, has basic rights and entitlements at work.
Your employer is required by law to:
- Provide you with a written employment agreement
- Pay you at least the minimum wage
- Provide you with paid annual holidays
- Provide you with paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks
- Give you public holidays off or if you’re working on these days, compensate you for working
- Not deduct money from your wage unless the agreement is in writing
- Provide a safe workplace
- Not discriminate against you
- Act in good faith
Working after you graduate
In New Zealand, there are two kinds of post-study visas available for international students.
- The Open Visa- available to every student to find a job within 12 months after completion of their academic program
- The Employer-Assisted Visa- lets you work in a specific, relevant job, for two more years
If you wish to stay and work in New Zealand permanently and you meet the relevant criteria, you can apply for a Skill Migrant Visa. To find out more information, visit the Immigration New Zealand website.