What is the change? In an effort to attract critical skills and talent, the New Zealand government has announced that it will be providing new paths for international students to obtain work authorization post-study.

What does the change mean? The changes are intended to attract high-skilled talent and will be beneficial to international students who plan to study in New Zealand or who are currently studying in New Zealand. The changes are intended to encourage international students to remain in New Zealand after study and facilitate work authorization without employer assistance.

  • Visas/permits affected: Work visas for students, various levels.
  • Effective date: Nov. 26.
  • Business impact: Employers will benefit from the eased work authorization for foreign students post-study. Additionally, employers will no longer be required to assist with post-study work visas.
  • Next steps: Assess candidate eligibility based on the new study visa criteria to take advantage of new work authorization paths, longer work visa validity, and additional benefits for the dependents of high-skilled students.

Background: Following a period of public comment and consultation, the New Zealand government announced on Aug. 8 that it will implement changes for foreign students’ post-study work visas. Post-study work authorization for foreign students will no longer require employer assistance or sponsorship at all visa levels, which will allow students work authorization portability and the ability to change employers with greater ease.

Other key changes will include one-year post-study open work visas for Level 4-6 students and non-degree level 7 qualifications. Students outside of Auckland may benefit from a two-year open-study work visa for Level 4-6 and non-degree level 7 qualifications (provided study is completed by December 2021, at which point the benefit will revert to a one-year post-study open work visa). Graduate diploma recipients working toward registration with a professional or trade body may be eligible for an additional year of work visa validity.

Degree students, Level 7 or above, may be eligible for a three-year post-study work visa. Further, partners of students will be eligible for open work visas in their own right and children will be eligible to attend fee-free domestic schooling, provided that the foreign student is at Level 8 qualifications in areas specified on the Long Term Skills Shortage List.

Analysis & Comments: Foreign students as well as employers will benefit from recent changes to post-study work visas and should look into eligibility and benefits depending on student level and location. The most notable change is that students will no longer require employer assistance for post-study work visas, which will provide students and employers flexibility in post-study work authorization. For a better understanding of how these changes may impact post-study work visas, a summary of current regulations and the impending changes is available here.

Licence No: 201501694 (New Zealand)

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.