Study and work in New Zealand

Working after your studies

Working rights for international students

New Zealand has a progressive policy towards working rights for international students. You are allowed to work for a set number of hours while you are studying, and you will be eligible to apply for a three-year open post-study work visa after you graduate from university.

Working on a student visa

As a full-time student in New Zealand, you may be allowed to work a limited number of hours while studying and full-time during scheduled holidays.

  • You are not allowed to be self-employed. 
  • You must work for an employer and have an employment contract. 
  • If your degree programme includes practical experience, you are allowed to work to meet this requirement. 

Post-study work visas

After you have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a New Zealand university, you will be able to apply for an up to three-year open post-study work visa. This means that you can remain in New Zealand to look for work for up to three years.

The visa conditions are open, meaning you can work for almost any employer and won’t be restricted to a specific job or location.

If your degree is needed for occupations that have skills shortage in New Zealand then that may increase your chances of getting employment here after you graduate.

More information on types of visa, conditions and how to apply can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Life beyond your studies

Graduates from New Zealand universities are prepared for success. Degrees encourage critical thinking, research and innovative skills, which are highly valued in the world of work. There are also lots of exciting opportunities for careers here after graduation with emerging jobs and industries.

Key industries in New Zealand go beyond traditional areas of agriculture and construction to include advanced technology, engineering and commercial services. Auckland, as New Zealand’s largest city, is also an economic hub with a growing number of multinational companies and high value industries.

Kyle's story: Working as a graduate engineer in Wellington


of International graduates are still in New Zealand 5 years after graduation

(New Zealand Ministry of Education 2017)

Kyle from China at the University of Auckland

"I've been doing internships and volunteer experiences all the way through my university life. I've been spending most of summers here in New Zealand working part time or in an internship. One of my internships was working in Wellington with NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere. It was a government agency that gave me a heap of experience dealing with significant projects. I learned a lot, which I believe is also the foundation for me moving from university towards the industry."

Kyle from China

Studied Auckland Foundation Year (now replaced by the Foundation Studies Certificate)

Progressed to Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering at the University of Auckland 



The Foundation Studies Certificate programme is your pathway to the University of Auckland. Find out more about programmes available.

Life in Auckland

Studying and living in Auckland, New Zealand offers an exciting mix of city life, relaxed beaches, beautiful scenery and adventure activities. 

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