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Part-Time Work Opportunities for International Students in New Zealand

A country of immense natural beauty, New Zealand has it all…rolling mountains, dormant volcanoes, lush forests, enchanting lakes and the ocean surrounding the islands. The country comprises two islands – the North and South Island. Besides being a popular tourist destination and a scenic locale for movie shoots, New Zealand is a popular destination for higher education. Some of the important cities in New Zealand are Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Leading universities in New Zealand that attract international students are the University of Auckland, University of Otago, University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University.

Student Life in New Zealand:

Consistently ranked among the top 20 countries in the world for happiness and peaceful living, New Zealand has a strong government that focuses on ensuring the best for its people. This tiny country has one of the finest education systems in the world.

New Zealand was among the first few countries in the world to set up a ‘Code of Practice’ for institutions admitting international students, thus ensuring that the interests of the students are protected and they get full value for the fees that they pay. As there is a strong Asian expatriate community, overseas students will not feel out of place in New Zealand.

A well designed public transport system, easy and hassle-free connectivity and a range of accommodation options with self-catered and full board options make living very simple for students. The cost of living, while affordable, varies from city to city and students should budget their expenses carefully to lead a comfortable and focused life. Part-time employment for students can help to cut down on the out-of-pocket expenses.

Laws Pertaining to Part-Time Employment:

  • International students who are on a student visa can work part-time up to 20 hours a week during classes and full-time on scheduled holidays.
  • They are not allowed to be self-employed. They must be employed by someone with an employment agreement, and not as an independent contractor.
  • Students of a Masters by research or Doctoral degree at a New Zealand institution are permitted to work full-time while they are studying.
Popular Part-Time Jobs:

Popular part-time jobs include Data-entry work, Translation assignments, Attendant in super-markets, Attendant in small restaurants, On-campus opportunities to work in the campus library, laboratory, etc.

Minimum Wages:

The minimum rates that are applicable to first-time workers, and employees on the training minimum wage (before tax), are:

  • $11.40 an hour, which is
    • $91.20 for an 8-hour day, or
    • $456.00 for a 40-hour week, or
    • $912 for an 80-hour fortnight.

All wages will be taxed; every student needs to apply for and secure an IRD (Inland Revenue Department) Number before they can start working.

Post-Study Work Rights:

Students are allowed to continue in the country for a stipulated time after completion of their studies. There are two types of post-study visas available – the open visa and the employer-assisted visa. The open visa gives students a chance to find a job within 12 months of completing their programme, and can be considered like an extended visa. The employer-assisted visa helps students to stay and gain work experience ranging from two to three years. After this, they can then apply for a New Zealand resident visa under the Skilled Migrant category.

In sharp contrast to many other leading countries, the New Zealand government encourages students with a good academic score to find a suitable job and settle in the country. Those with an entrepreneurial bent of mind will also be encouraged to start a business and generate employment opportunities in the local community.


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