Updated On 28 May 2022
The New Zealand government has announced its decision to open borders for the international student community w e f 31st July 2022. The students who wish to apply for a New Zealand visa are permitted to submit their documents to initiate the process from now onwards.
The New Zealand government has announced a new Immigration Re-balance policy on 11th May 2022 is expected to make a far-reaching impact on the international students in terms of their post-study work rights and fund requirement to support their studies in the coming years.
As per the New Zealand Immigration, the recently brought migrant re-balance policy has been designed to make it easier for attracting high skilled migrants to New Zealand and contribute to the country's economic prospects.
Let us analyze the key aspects of the new policy as to how it affects international students.
International students who are pursuing a bachelor's degree, bachelor's honours degree, graduate diploma, postgraduate diploma, master's or doctoral degree and have studied full time in New Zealand for a minimum of 30 weeks will continue to be eligible for post-study work rights under the new policy.
Under the ongoing system of the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) an international student who wishes to study in New Zealand after his secondary (12th class) can choose to do either a bachelor's degree or diploma program.
If an international student wishes to do a bachelor's degree (level 7 of the NZQF) in New Zealand then he/she is eligible for a post-study work visa (PSWV) for 03 years. If the bachelor's program belongs to level 8 of NZQF, then also the student will qualify for a PSW of 03 years duration.
Any bachelor's degree in any academic stream is eligible as per the above criteria.
If the student chooses to study a diploma (generally 02 years long) which is at level 6 or below level 6 of NZQF, then the diploma the student opts to study must leads to an occupation which is mentioned in the 'green list' of New Zealand immigration.
If your diploma does not lead to an occupation on the green list, you will not be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa.
The post-study employment visa will be valid for the same amount of time as your diploma course.
In terms of diploma students' post-study employment rights, the green list of relevant qualifications will only allow them to work in that occupation, albeit they will be able to swap companies and work for less than the median income.
If an overseas student intends to pursue a graduate diploma at level 7 of the NZQF after completing his bachelor's degree, the diploma must lead to an occupation on the green list of New Zealand immigration in order for the student to qualify for PSWV.
For the international students, who want to do a postgraduate diploma equivalent to level 8 of NZQF, they are eligible for the PSWV irrespective of the nature of the course whether it is on the green list or not.
The duration of PSWV after the level 8 postgraduate diploma will be the same as the duration of the course. For example, if the duration of the postgraduate diploma course is 18 months, then the student will be eligible for a post-study work visa for 18 months.
For master's degree courses at levels 8 and 9, the post-study work visa eligibility is 03 years after their course irrespective of whether the qualification is on the green list or not.
Similarly, for PhD programs (level 10 of NZQF), the PSWV eligibility will be 03 years after the studies without being tagged to the green list.
As per the new policy on New Zealand immigration, international students will no longer be able to apply for a second PSWV. However, they can apply for a work visa through an accredited employer.
Students who are already studying in New Zealand and who have applied for a visa or hold a visa for that specific study will be considered under the 'old' post-study work visa rules.
From 31st July 2022 onwards, the fund required to be furnished as support for applying student visa will be increased from the current NZD 15,000 to NZD 20,000 for all prospective tertiary students.
Students who have started a qualification offshore and who apply for a visa from 11th may 2022 will be treated as per the new policy.