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Post Study Work Visa

Who may need a New Zealand Post Study Work Visa?

The New Zealand Post Study Work Visa is a one-of-a-kind work visa, which combines the right to work with considerable freedom to choose.

It is tailored for those wishing to obtain hands-on experience after successfully completing an approved course of study. The length of the visa varies depending on the course grade and duration. What makes it popular is that it may be a viable path for residence for many.

An old saying, originating from an ancient proverb and commonly ascribed to the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (Laozi), goes,

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.

This New Zealand visa may be rightfully regarded as your first step towards New Zealand residence. Although it grants its holder only the right to work, rather than stay in the country indefinitely, it nevertheless offers a unique opportunity to have a taste of New Zealand second-to-none lifestyle and workplace culture. Besides, before applying you will have acquainted yourself with New Zealand education system, obtained a recognised qualification and will likely already have a clear understanding of your future career and your long-term goals.

Who can get this visa?

To qualify, you will need to have studied and successfully completed one of the following:

  • a course leading towards a Level 8, 9, or 10 qualification on the NZQF, which you have studied for at least 30 weeks in New Zealand;
  • a  course leading towards a degree qualification on the NZQF, studied in New Zealand for a minimum of 30 weeks;
  • a course leading towards a Level 4, 5, 6, or 7 qualification, which is included in the list of qualifications eligible for a post study work visa  (at the bottom of the Green List).


The Post Study Work Visa may be granted to graduate students after they successfully complete a qualification over a designated period of study. The school you studied at must offer a course leading to what the New Zealand Qualifications Authority will consider to be an acceptable qualification. The length of study will vary between at least 30 weeks and up to 3-4 years of full-time research on a PhD course.

How long is a New Zealand Post Study Visa valid for?

The duration usually correlates with the ranking of the course in the NZQA framework and the length of the course – the higher the position and the longer it was studied, the more time you will have on your visa, with a maximum length being 3 years.

How much time do I have to apply after I finish my study?

  • You have up to 3 months to apply upon successful completion of your course (or a second eligible course taken immediately after the first);
  • If the qualification you obtained was a Doctoral Degree, you have up to 6 months to apply.

To sum up, the instructions allow for sufficient time to apply after graduation.

Do I need to have a job offer for this visa?

The good news is, you do not need a job offer as this visa is an open one. 

What about partners and children? Can they accompany me, can they work and study?

Generally, yes. If you have a New Zealand post study work visa, your partners may be able to work; moreover, your children may have access to primary and secondary schools on a par with New Zealand domestic students.

There are also general requirements to meet

The Post Study Work Visa, as part of the cohort of New Zealand temporary class visas, is no exception to all the general requirements applicable. The applicants need to show an acceptable standard of health, clean criminal record, and prove they are bona fide. In other words, bona fide means they have genuine intentions to work, study or visit.

Here is a brief look at the qualifications and duration of the programmes leading to a New Zealand Post Study Work Visa. Regardless of how straightforward the instructions may seem, to be on the safe side you will need to give it a good thought. To rest assured you have made the right decision, we recommend turning to our immigration consultant for free advice. As a result, you can have some peace of mind knowing you are on the right track. Let us know how we can help at your 30-minute no-charge consultation which you can book hassle-free today. 

 What work rights will I have on a Post Study work visa?

Qualification completed and programme durationWork rights
i. Bachelor’s degree, bachelor honours degree, postgraduate diploma, master’s or doctoral degree (studied full time in New Zealand for a minimum of 30 weeks)No limitations
ii. Level 7 and below (excl. Bachelor’s, incl. Graduate Diplomas and Diplomas at level 7)If the qualification is relevant to an occupation on the Green List
iii. Non-degree students with Green List-relevant qualifications

Can only work in that occupation;

Can switch employers and work for less than the median wage
iv. 20 roles on the Green List that have direct pathways from Level 7 and below level qualifications.

Construction project manager; project builder; 12 specific engineering roles; civil engineering technician; electrical engineering technician; secondary school teacher; early childhood (pre-primary school) teacher; automotive electrician; diesel motor mechanic

  • The duration of the post study work visa will now mirror the time the applicants study in New Zealand, up to a maximum of three years.
  • International students will no longer be able to apply for a second post study work visa.

2022 transitional Post-Study Work Visa

For those who on 11 May 2022 held a student visa to study an eligible course for a Post-Study Work Visa under previous instructions, transitional provisions will apply if the visa is applied for before 11 May 2025.

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Our adviser and director has been in the same boat with most of our valued clients who come to seek his counsel. He came to New Zealand as a migrant in 2002 and has been calling it home since then. It is our pleasure to serve your needs and provide professional immigration advisor services to help your dreams come true.
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