Working on a student visa.

Working on a Student Visa in New Zealand

As a student visa holder, you may be able to work part-time up to 20 hours each week while studying in New Zealand. You may also be able to work full-time during scheduled holidays. Just keep in mind that in order to obtain a student visa, you have to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to pay your tuition fees and to support yourself while studying in New Zealand. This means that you cannot rely on the potential income from future employment in the country.

Check the student visa on your passport. It states whether and when you are allowed to work while studying in the country.

Example Visa Label

This sample student visa shows the conditions under which the holder may work. They are highlighted in yellow. The conditions may vary depending on the programme of study and on other factors. Each student is required to check the conditions which are stated on their visa and to adhere to them fully.

Work during the Term

You can work part-time for up to 20 hours each week during the term as long as at least one of the following requirements is met:

• The programme has duration of at least 2 years
• The programme leads to a New Zealand qualification, which gains points under the Skilled Migrant visa category
• You are enrolled in an English language course which meets a set of specific conditions defined by Immigration New Zealand

More information on who may work while studying in the country is available at this webpage on the official website of Immigration New Zealand.

Special Circumstances

In certain cases, students may be able to work for more than 20 hours each week. This is usually the case when working is part of the programme of study undertaken by the student. For example, if you have to work for a set number of hours in order to gain the experience required for obtaining qualification, these hours can be added to the 20 hours per week which a student visa holder typically gets.

Students who are enrolled in masters by research programmes and doctoral degree programmes in tertiary institutions in New Zealand have unlimited work hours. There are no restrictions set on the number of hours during which they can work during the week, month or year.

Word during Scheduled Breaks

You may be able to work full-time during all breaks scheduled by your education provider. In order to be eligible for this, you must be enrolled in a tertiary programme of study whose duration is at least one academic year and which is worth at least 120 credits. An academic year is minimum 8 months long and has 2 semesters.

If you are enrolled in a full-time programme whose duration is one academic year, but it brings less than 120 credits, then you may be able to work full-time only during the break for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Important Note

The New Zealand student visa which you have in your passport should state whether and when you are allowed to work. You may also receive a letter from Immigration New Zealand telling you whether your visa allows you to work in the country and providing additional information. You must read all provided information carefully and adhere to the stated requirements.

If you breach the conditions of your visa, penalties will apply. The list of penalties includes deportation. If you have any questions about your work rights or any other rights as an international student in New Zealand, you should talk to an officer in one of the branches of Immigration New Zealand or to a licensed immigration adviser.