Visa News

Rules change for International students

For many years an international education in New Zealand was sold overseas as a pathway to residence of New Zealand. This is about to change.

17/05/20221 min read
Rules change for International students

For many years an international education in New Zealand was sold overseas as a pathway to residence of New Zealand. This is about to change. The government will no doubt leave the residence door open for top students who complete NZ degrees and secure highly skilled jobs. Watch this space for changes to the Skilled Migrant Category for the removal of additional points for most qualifications completed in NZ.

In the meantime, border exemptions remain in place for 5,000 international students to apply for visas before the border reopens in July 2022.

Students applying for visas from 11 May 2022 face a number of changes around post-study work rights and fund requirements. In summary, these are:

  • Post-study work rights for most students will be limited to the length of time they studied in NZ up to three years (excluding Master's and PhD students who will still qualify for three years of post-study work rights).
  • Post-study work rights will be restricted to those studying at a degree level or higher and who completed at least 30 weeks of study in NZ.
  • Those studying Level 7 (other than degrees) or lower will not get post-study work rights unless the area of study is relevant to an occupation on the “Green List”.
  • From 31 July 2022 international students at tertiary level will need $20,000 each year to support themselves and school students $17,000 per annum. This is on top of annual tuition fees.
  • Students applying for post-study work rights will need to prove they have $5,000 in available funds.
  • The fund's requirement will be reviewed every three years.

There will be a pathway for students to apply for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa provided the student has the qualifications and experience required for the job and will be paid at or above the median wage (currently $27.76 per hour; this rate changes annually).

The Minister of Education wants to see the international education sector broaden the market attraction beyond China and India. The Minister has plans to visit the USA, Brazil and Chile to spark interest in our education offering for students looking to study aboard.

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The Green List

From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.

Read more here.

16 May 22

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
10 Feb 22

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

16 Dec 21