What is New Zealand's post-study work visa?

Learn about the provisions to stay back and work in New Zealand after graduation with a post-study work visa.

Caution: Visa processing for applications from outside New Zealand has been temporarily suspended from 10 August 2020 due to the pandemic. You cannot apply for a student visa from outside the country unless you are exempt.

In this article:

What is a New Zealand post-study work visa?

A post-study work visa is a document provided by New Zealand’s government permitting international students to stay back after graduation to work.

What is the duration of a post-study work visa in New Zealand?

The duration of your post-study work visa will depend on the level of your course:

  • Level 7 or higher - 3 years.
  • Level 4-6 - 1 year.

The following is the breakdown of levels and courses in New Zealand:

Level 4:

  • Certifications qualifying students to work/continue higher education in broad field areas. 

Requirement - minimum of 40 credits at level 4 or up.

Level 5:

  • Certifications qualifying students with technical/theoretical skills in specific subject areas. 

Requirement - minimum of 40 credits at level 5 or up.

  • Diplomas qualifying students with technical/theoretical skills in specific subject areas. 

Requirements - minimum of 120 credits at level 4 and up, out of which at least 72 credits must be at level 5 or up.

Level 6:

  • Certifications qualifying students with technical/theoretical skills within a specialised aspect of a subject area. 

Requirements - minimum of 40 credits at level 6 or up.

  • Diplomas qualifying students with technical/theoretical skills within a specialised aspect of a subject area. 

Requirements - minimum of 120 credits at level 5 and up, out of which at least 72 credits must be at level 6 or up.

Level 7:

  • Regular Bachelor degree. 

Requirements - minimum of 360 credits at levels 5 and up, out of which at least 72 credits must be at level 7 or up.

  • Diplomas qualifying students with technical/theoretical skills within a specialised aspect of a subject area within a professional context. 

Requirements - minimum of 120 credits at level 5 and up, out of which at least 72 credits must be at level 7 or up.

  • Graduate diplomas qualify graduate students with additional knowledge in their field of study. This can be used as a bridge between bachelors and masters. 

Requirements - minimum of 120 credits, out of which at least 72 credits must be at level 7 or up.

  • Graduate certifications help graduate students gain in-depth knowledge in their field of study. This, too, can be used as a bridge between bachelors and masters. 

Requirements - minimum of 60 credits, out of which at least 40 credits must be at level 7 or up.

Level 8:

  • Bachelor honours degree. 

Requirements - 480 credits out of which at least 120 credits must be at level 8 or up with 30 credits representing research components.

  • Postgraduate certifications help students who finished a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree or a graduate certification to deepen their knowledge in their subject area. 

Requirements - minimum of 60 credits at level 8.

  • Postgraduate diplomas help students who finished a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree or a graduate certification to deepen their knowledge in their subject area. 

Requirements - minimum of 120 credits at level 7 or up, out of which at least 72 credits at level 8.

Level 9:

  • Master’s degrees. 

Requirements - minimum of 240 credits at level 8 or up with at least 40 credits at level 9.

Level 10:

  • Doctoral degree. 

Requirements - Minimum 360 credits at level 10.

Who is eligible to apply for a post-study work visa in New Zealand?

You are eligible to apply for a post-study work visa in New Zealand if:

  • You hold a student visa.
  • You graduated from a recognised university.
  • You’ve completed a course that will gain points under the New Zealand Immigration Skilled Migrant Category. 
  • You have a minimum of 4200 NZ$ in your bank account. 

When to apply for a post-study work visa in New Zealand?

You need to apply for a post-study work visa within three months after your study visa expires. However, if you completed your PhD, you can apply within six months after your study visa expires.

FAQs on post-study work visas in New Zealand

  • Can students studying Level 6 courses in New Zealand apply for a post-study work visa?

Yes, students studying a level 6 course in New Zealand can apply for a post-study work visa.

Course Level

Can apply if,

Level 4-6

The duration of the course is 60 weeks or more.


OR


The student completed two courses with a duration of 30 weeks, each with the second-course level higher than the first.

Level 7 or higher

The duration of the course is 30 weeks or more.

  • Are there any work restrictions on post-study work visas?

You cannot work as a commercial sexual service provider or invest in a business that does. Apart from that, there are no work restrictions on the roles you can take up.

  • What to do after the post-study work visa expires? 

Before your post-study work visa expires, you can apply for other visas like the essential skills work visa, provided you satisfy that visa’s eligibility requirements.

  • How long does it take to receive a post-study work visa? 

The approximate processing duration for a post-study work visa is 30 days from the date of application. Once the processing is completed, you will be notified, and an eVisa will be sent to you.

  • Can I bring dependents to New Zealand while holding a post-study work visa?

Yes, you can bring dependents like your spouse and children to New Zealand while holding a post-study work visa. Your dependent children can attend school without paying a fee, like domestic children. Your partner can also work after applying for a work visa.