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Changes proposed for international student post-study work rights

Changes to post study work visa announced

study in NZEdit 08/08/2018: these changes are now imminent. Keep up to date with our Facebook page for live changes.

Earlier this week, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced proposed changes to post-study work rights, in order to help eliminate migrant exploitation and ensure the skills acquired through studying in New Zealand contribute to the country's economy.

It has been suggested that the study pathway has contributed to a 'decline in the general skill level of migrants seeking residency 'and exploitation from some agents, employers and education providers.


Key changes to NZ student visa pathway

Key changes include limiting to 1 year post-study work visas for courses below degree level and removing post-study work rights for courses of less than two years in duration. Graduates will still be able to apply for other visas but will be subject to the same skill level and labour market tests.

Amongst the proposed changes:

  • Removing the requirement for post-study work visas to be sponsored by a particular employer,
  • Providing a one-year post-study work visa for non-degree level 7 or below qualifications,
  • Providing a three-year post-study work visa for degree level 7 or above qualifications,
  • Requiring students completing non-degree level 7 or below qualifications to undertake at least two years of study in order to gain eligibility for post-study work rights, and,
  • Requiring international students studying level 8 or 9 qualifications to be in an area specified in the Long Term Skills Shortage List in order for their partner to be eligible for an open work visa, and the partner’s dependent children to be eligible for fee-free compulsory schooling.

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