Staying to work after study.

Staying to Work After Studying in New Zealand

It is possible to stay and work in New Zealand after you have completed your programme of study and have obtained the respective qualification. In order to do this, you will require the right type of visa.

If you are an international student who holds a New Zealand qualification, you may be allowed to gain work experience in a field which is related to the programme of study that you have completed.

You may be able to work in New Zealand for as many as four years after obtaining qualification in the country. It is also possible to gain residence which will enable you to stay and work in the country for as long as you want. Whether you will be allowed to stay and work in the country after graduation will depends on what you have studies among other factors.

Visa Options and Requirements

In order to be able to work in New Zealand after graduation, you must apply for a visa to Immigration New Zealand and have it approved. The transition from studying to working involves two steps which you need to complete.

Open post-study work visa

This type of visa is designed for international students who have obtained New Zealand qualification, but do not have a job offer. It gives you the opportunity to stay in the country for 12 months and to obtain a job which is related to your field of studies. Once you have such a job, you will be able to apply for a further visa. Under the conditions of the open post-study work visa, you will be able to take up any job in order to support yourself while searching for a position which is related to your studies.

In order to obtain an open post-study work visa you must have New Zealand qualification which meets the study to work visa requirements. You must apply for this type of visa within 3 months after the end of your student visa or within 6 months if you have earned doctoral qualification. You must present evidence that you have at least NZ$ 4,200 in order to cover your living expenses during the 12-month stay. Bank documents and traveller's checks in your name are accepted.

Employer-assisted post-study work visa

If you have an offer for employment, this type of visa will enable you to stay in New Zealand to gain work experience. You will be allowed to work in the country for a maximum period of 2 years or 3 years, if you have to have work experience of more than 2 years for obtaining membership or registration from professional association in New Zealand.

In order to obtain an employer-assisted post-study work visa, you must produce evidence that you have obtained qualification which meets the study to work visa requirements. You must also provide evidence of the relevance of the job offer which you have received to the qualification that you have earned.

You have to meet a set of additional requirements if you are applying for a 3-year work visa. You have to demonstrate that you require membership or registration from a professional association in New Zealand in order to perform your professional duties fully. You must show that the employment, which you have an offer for, is considered to be relevant practical work experience by the respective professional association.

You must present proof that the qualification which you have earned meets the criteria for membership or registration of the professional association.

You have to apply for an employer-assisted post-study work visa within 3 months of the end of your student visa or within 6 months if you have achieved doctoral qualification. This requirement is not applicable to open post-study work visa holders.

Resident Visa

Once you have obtained an employer-assisted post-study work visa, you may be able to qualify for resident visa under the Skilled Migrant category. If you have job in a profession which has skill shortage, you will have higher chances of continuing your stay in the country either as a work visa holder or a resident visa holder.

All visa applicants must pass health and character checks. This is applicable to the study to work scheme as well.

Additional information on staying to work in New Zealand after completing your study programme can be found at newzealandnow.govt.nz.