2016-Apr 22:Work rights for students – summer vacation and scheduled breaks

Visa Pak 256 - Advice for staff about work rights for students while on summer vacation, scheduled breaks and on completion of their studies.

Visa Paks

22 April 2016

Recently there have been requests for clarification on summer and scheduled vacations as well as when a student may work full-time after the course has already been completed but the student visa is still valid for a few more months.

Summer vacation refers to the period over the Christmas and New Year holidays. While the start date of the summer vacation can vary between providers, it is generally around November/December. Students are generally considered to be on summer vacation if their course resumes after the Christmas and New Year holidays or if they will return to study in the next calendar year.

Scheduled vacations refer to the breaks between the different terms (or semesters) within the programme of study. These breaks would either have been submitted by the provider to Immigration New Zealand when the student applied for their student visa or would be on the provider’s website or international prospectus. Scheduled vacations may vary as providers may have different term schedules.


The table below provides some scenarios to help identify whether or not a student can work full-time during the period in question. For all the scenarios listed, the student visa was granted with the following conditions:

  • May work up to 20 hours per week.
  • May work full-time during summer vacation.
  • May work full-time during scheduled vacations.

Note: Where the student is intending to apply for a post-study work visa (PSWV) after their student visa expires, staff should advise the student that they can work full-time until the end of their student visa but recommend that they submit their PSWV application well in advance of their student visa expiry. This is to prevent any problems with their employment should the student visa expire before the PSWV application is finalised. If the student is put on an interim visa, they will have to cease all employment (part-time work will also not be allowed).


Please discuss with your team(s) and ensure staff are aware of the difference between summer and scheduled vacations when providing advice to students visa holders.