Working on a student visa

You may be allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during all scheduled holidays and/or during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Part-time work (tertiary students)

You can work up to 20 hours a week if you’re studying full-time for any of the following:

  • for at least 2 years
  • for a New Zealand qualification that gains points under the Skilled Migrant Category
  • for a foundation programme for at least 1 academic year at level 4 or higher on the New Zealand Qualification Framework at an education provider in Canterbury.

Full-time work (tertiary students)

You may be able to work full-time:

  • during scheduled breaks in study, if you’re studying full-time for at least 1 academic year and your course is worth more than 120 credits
  • during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, if you’re studying full-time and your course is worth less than 120 credits.

PhD and Masters by research students

If you’re enrolled in Masters by research or doctoral degree programme awarded by a New Zealand tertiary institution, there are no restrictions on the hours you can work.

Part-time work (English language students)

You can work for up to 20 hours a week while you have a valid Student Visa if your course meets certain conditions.

Courses 6 months and longer

You can work part-time if all of the following apply:

  • your study is full-time
  • your programme of study for 6 months or longer
  • we believe the main purpose of your study is to improve your English
  • you have an International English Language Testing System certificate with an overall band score of 5.0 that’s no more than 2 years old – you’ll need to provide this with your application.

Courses 14 weeks and longer

You can work part-time if all of the following apply:

  • your study is full-time
  • your study is for at least 14 consecutive weeks
  • you’re studying English language
  • your study is with a university, or a high quality education provider.

Shorter courses

When we assess if you’re eligible for work rights, we’ll look at any English language study you’ve done on previous Student Visas. We can count your previous English language study towards the 14 weeks if:

  • your new study follows on from your previous study
  • the study is with the same education provider.

Secondary school students

If you’re studying in year 12 or 13, the last 2 years of secondary school, you can work up to 20 hours a week during the school year and full-time in the Christmas and New Year holiday period between school years.

If you’re under 18, you must have written permission from your school and your parents or legal guardian to work.

You don’t need written permission if you‘re over 18 and at secondary school, and want to work during the summer holiday period.

Practical experience

You’re allowed to work, to meet a requirement of practical experience for your programme of study in New Zealand, if practical experience is a course requirement.

Check your visa label

If you’re allowed to work, your work rights will be recorded in your eVisa or the visa label in your passport, or explained to you in a letter.

If you work when you’re not allowed to, you’ll be in breach of your visa conditions. If this happens you may have to leave New Zealand. If you have questions about your work rights, contact us.

Contact us