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Employment While You Study

Want to work while you’re in New Zealand? Here’s how.

Working part-time can be a great way to help cover some of your living expenses whilst studying in New Zealand, but it can also help you to gain work experience in your field of study. 

Most student visas allow you to work for up to 20 hours per week during your course. However, to work while you’re studying, you must meet certain requirements such as:

  • Your course must last for at least two years

  • Your studies will lead to a New Zealand qualification that acquire points under the Skilled Migrant Category

  • You’re studying an English language course that meets the conditions set out by Immigration New Zealand 


In some cases, you may be able to work for more than 20 hours a week if the work is a component part of your qualification.

During your scheduled course breaks, you can work as much as you like. If your programme 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 programme runs for an academic year but is worth less than 120 credits, then you may only be eligible to work full-time during the Christmas and New Year break. 

Remember, you should double check your visa before starting any paid work in New Zealand.

Also, if you are considering working in New Zealand, you must have an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) tax number. If you would like more information or if you wish to apply for one, visit the Inland Revenue website.

Your rights at work
Everyone has basic rights and entitlements at work in New Zealand, including international students. 

Your employer is legally required to:

  • Provide you with a written employment agreement

  • Pay you at or above the minimum wage

  • Provide you with paid annual holidays

  • Provide you with paid rest breaks as well as unpaid meal breaks

  • Give you public holidays off or if you work on these days, compensate you for working

  • Not deduct any money from your wages unless there is an agreement in writing

  • Provide a safe workplace

  • Not discriminate against you


    Act in good faith

If you feel your employer has not met these obligations, you should call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s contact centre on 0800 20 90 20. 

Working after you graduate
If you would like to stay and work in New Zealand after you have finished your course, you will first need to apply for a new visa. 

There two types of visas 

  • The Post-study work visa (open): with this option you have up to 12 months in order to find a job in your relevant field of study
  • The Post-study work visa (employer assisted): this option allows you to work in a specific job for two years, which must be relevant to your field of study.

If you would like to stay and work in New Zealand permanently, you must meet the relevant criteria. If you would like to do this you can apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa. To find out more information, visit the Immigration New Zealand website.

Money and Expenses in New Zealand

You’ll need to know how much you’ll need for your day-to-day living expenses, but it is important to remember the cost of living will vary depending on which city in New Zealand you live in.


Finding a home away from home

There are four main options for you to consider when looking for a place to live whilst you’re studying.

New Zealand Universities

IDP Education partners with all New Zealand universities as well as a broad range of institutes of technology, schools and private providers.


As a pioneer in International education, we are truly global in scale and experience.

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