New Zealand Post-Study Work Visa Guide for International Students

Last updated: 25 October 2023 Student Visa Study in New Zealand

A post-study work visa is a document the New Zealand government provides to permit international students to work after graduation. The visa is designed to enable students to gain work experience related to their field of study after studying in New Zealand, and it allows you to stay in New Zealand for up to three years if you have recently completed your studies.

The New Zealand post-study work visa gives you the ability to:

Learn more about the New Zealand post-study work visa below. If you want to study in New Zealand, contact SI-New Zealand for a free consultation today.

post study visa in new zealand

Five Benefits of the Post-Study Visa

1. Work experience 

One of the most significant benefits of a post-study visa is getting to work after graduating from New Zealand University. It offers exceptional hands-on experience in your field of study, which can enhance your resume and make you more competitive globally. 

2. Employment opportunities

New Zealand is known for its strong economy and demand for skilled professionals. So, having a post-work visa can help you enjoy employment opportunities, especially if your field of study aligns with the country’s skilled shortages.

3. A door to permanent residence

For many international students, a post-study work visa can lead to permanent residency in New Zealand. Gaining work experience and securing a job can increase your chances of residency eligibility. 

4. Cultural experience

Living and working in NZ can provide unique cultural experiences. You can immerse yourself and learn about the Kiwi way of life. 

5. Improve language skills

If English is not your native language, working in New Zealand can improve your English skills, a valuable asset in today’s global job market.

Types of Post-Study Work Permits in New Zealand

New Zealand assigns two types of work visas to foreign applicants. However, New Zealand work visa requirements can be different for certain people depending on their purpose -

Level of Education

Course Duration

Visa Duration

Two qualifications at Levels 4-6

30 weeks for each course

Three years

One qualification at Levels 4-6

60 weeks

Three years

Level 7 qualification without a degree

30 weeks

Three years

Level 7 Bachelor’s degree and above

30 weeks

Three years

Types of Degrees Applicable for Post-Study Work Visa in New Zealand

The duration of post-study work in New Zealand (NZ) depends on your course level.

Education Levels Duration of work visa
Levels 4 to 6 (certificates and diplomas) One year
Level 7 or higher (includes graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, master’s, and doctoral degrees)

Three years

Level 4 (Certificate Programs)

New Zealand offers a certificate program that qualifies you with theoretical and technical concepts, knowledge, and skills within a specific field of work or study. Students can opt for certificate programs in various areas, such as health and wellness, IT, computing, tourism and travel, etc. In short, it is a gateway program to a bachelor’s degree.

Level 5 & 6 (Diploma Programs)

These diploma programs build your technical and theoretical skills within a specified field of work or study. Students can choose diploma courses in economics, engineering, architecture, design, social work, etc. 

Level 7 (Bachelor’s Degree, Graduate Certificate/Graduate Diploma)

The education level 7 is classified into degree, graduate diploma, and graduate degree programs, offering a systematic and coherent approach to a recognized subject. The subjects are taught to build a practical knowledge base. 

On the other hand, the graduate diploma allows degree holders to pursue further studies at an advanced undergraduate level. The course is designed as a bridging qualification to postgraduate study for those developing educational, professional, or vocational knowledge of a new discipline, profession, or subject. The Level 7 courses allow you to apply for postgraduate studies.

Level 8 (Bachelor’s Honours Degree and Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma)

The Level 8 course programs in NZ are designed to extend and deepen the knowledge and skills in a specific subject or relevant area of study. The postgraduate diploma allows students to do independent research and receive scholarships. 

Level 9 (Master’s Degree)

A master’s degree qualifies individuals to apply advanced knowledge in various contexts. It is a pathway for further learning and professional development. New Zealand offers master’s degrees in fields such as Marine studies, engineering, biomedical sciences, architecture, etc. A master’s program can be structured in three ways: by thesis, coursework and thesis, and coursework. 

Level 10 (Doctoral Degree)

The highest level of education or advanced degree symbolizes that you have mastered a specific study area. A doctoral degree requires a significant level of research and articulation. The following types of doctoral degrees in New Zealand are: Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD/DPhil), Doctorate in the specified discipline (EdD or DMus), and Higher Doctorate (DSc or DLitt). 

Applying for a Post-Study Work Visa in New Zealand

Before you begin doing your paperwork for a visa, you must know that the post-study visa should be applied within three months of your study completion/student visa expiring. However, you must apply within six months if you have completed your postgraduate studies. 90% of the applications are processed within 31 weeks.

Here is the step-by-step procedure to apply for a work visa after studying in New Zealand (NZ).

  1. Visit the official website (NZ Immigration) to create a “Real Me” account, which is NZ internal affairs site. 
  2. Fill out and upload the required details and documents.
  3. Pay the fees.
  4. Wait for the immigrant’s decision. They may ask you to provide more information. If you are in NZ and your current visa is due to expire, then they will issue an interim visa so you can stay in New Zealand legally until your visa is awarded.

To qualify for a post-study visa, you must meet the following requirements:

Documents Required

You must prepare the following documents to apply for the post-study permit in NZ -

Application Fees

The fee is mandatory when applying for a work permit. However, it may vary depending on the country from which you apply. 

Mode Fee VAC Service Fee Courier Fee
Online $700 - -
On-paper application $625 - $860 $45- $75 $12 -  $100


Where can I apply for a post-study work visa in New Zealand?

International students can apply for work visas after studying in New Zealand. They can either apply online or on paper by visiting the official website (NZ Immigration) and creating a “Real Me” account, which is NZ internal affairs site. 

Are there any work restrictions on post-study work visas?

There are no work restrictions on the type of work that PSW Visa Holders must undertake, as it is a temporary visa facility that allows international students to live, study, and work once they have finished their studies. 

How long does receiving a post-study work visa take?

Once you have registered for the post-work visa, NZ Immigration takes around 31 weeks to process your application. 

What should you do after the post-study work visa expires?

You can extend your post-study work visa in New Zealand. However, you need to meet certain terms and conditions. For example- one must have a higher academic qualification than the one you have submitted before. 

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