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 the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Check your visa conditions

If you are 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 are not allowed to, you will 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

Tertiary students

Part-time work

Your visa conditions will allow you to work up to 20 hours a week if you are doing a full-time course that:

  • is at least 2 academic years in duration, or
  • is at least 1 academic year in duration and part of an approved tertiary student exchange scheme, or
  • results in a New Zealand qualification which gains points under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Full-time work

Your visa conditions will allow you to work full-time during scheduled breaks in study if all of these apply:

  • you are studying full-time for at least 1 academic year
  • your course is worth at least 120 credits, and
  • your course is delivered over a period of at least 8 months (minimum two semesters).

Your visa conditions will allow you to work full-time during the Christmas and New Year holiday period if:

  • you are studying full-time, and
  • your course has a minimum duration of 2 semesters during a period of at least 8 months.

PhD and Masters by research students

If you are enrolled in Masters by research or doctoral degree programme awarded by a New Zealand tertiary institution, your visa conditions will not have any restrictions on the hours you can work.

English language students

If you are an English language student, your visa conditions will allow you to work for up to 20 hours a week while you have a valid Student Visa, provided your course meets certain conditions.

Courses of at least 24 teaching weeks

Your visa conditions will allow you to work part-time if all of these apply:

  • your study is full-time
  • your programme of study is at least 24 teaching weeks
  • we believe the main purpose of your study is to improve your English, and
  • you have an acceptable English language test result that is no more than 2 years old, such as an International English Language Testing System certificate with an overall band score of 5.0 – you must provide your test result with your application.

Courses of at least 14 teaching weeks

Your visa conditions will allow you to work part-time if all of these apply:

  • your study is full-time
  • your study is for at least 14 consecutive weeks
  • you are studying English language, and
  • your study is with a university, or an education provider that has been assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority as a Category 1 provider.

Shorter English language courses

 

When we assess if you are eligible for work rights, we will look at any English language study you have done on previous Student Visas.

We can count your previous English language study towards the 14 consecutive weeks if:

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

Secondary school students

Your visa conditions will allow you to work for up to 20 hours a week during the school year, and full-time in the Christmas and New Year holiday between school years if:

  • you are 16 or older, and
  • studying in year 12 or 13.
Note

If you are under 18, you must have written permission from your school and your parents or legal guardian to work. You do not need written permission to work full-time in the Christmas and New Year holiday period if you are over 18.

Practical experience

If practical experience is a requirement of your course, we will grant your Student Visa with conditions that allow you to work to complete this practical experience.

Work you cannot do

International students are not allowed to be self-employed. You must work for an employer and have an employment agreement.

You cannot provide commercial sexual services. This means you cannot:

  • work as a prostitute
  • operate a New Zealand prostitution business
  • invest in a prostitution business.