Post-study work visa

If you have acceptable qualifications(s) that you completed in New Zealand, you can apply for a visa to work here. Depending on your qualification and where you studied, you can work for any employer for between 1 and 3 years, and do almost any work.

1, 2 or 3 years
You can
  • work for any employer.
  • work in almost any job New Zealand.
Things to note
  • You can only apply for this visa once, unless you complete a second higher qualification at bachelor’s degree level or higher.
  • You cannot provide commercial sexual services or operate or invest in a business that does.
  • If you complete your study outside Auckland before the end of 2021, your work visa can be valid for 2 or 3 years.
  • Your partner can apply for a work visa and your dependent children can study fee-free as domestic students.
Acceptable qualifications for a Post-study work visa

To apply for a Post-study work visa, you must have an acceptable New Zealand qualification.

To be acceptable:

  • you must have studied in New Zealand, and
  • your qualification must be Level 4 or higher on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.
Your qualification is Level 7 or higher (bachelor or higher)

Your qualification at level 7 or higher is acceptable if your course lasted 30 weeks or more.

You studied at Levels 4 to 6

Your Level 4, 5 or 6 qualification is acceptable if you:

  • completed it after study of 60 weeks or more, or
  • gained 2 qualifications that:
    • each involved 30 weeks’ study, and
    • the level of your last qualification was higher than the first.
You studied English language

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications are not acceptable.

You want to work for longer

You can apply for another Post-study work visa, but only if you complete another qualification in New Zealand that:

  • you studied for 30 weeks or more
  • is a bachelor’s degree or post-graduate qualification, and
  • is at a higher level than the qualification you used to get your previous visa.
There are 10 tertiary nz qualification levels that exist on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), from Level 1 certificates to Level 10 Doctorates. They are:
  • Level 1 certificates
  • Level 2 certificates
  • Level 3 certificates
  • Level 4 certificates
  • Level 5 certificates and diplomas
  • Level 6 certificates and diplomas
  • Level 7 graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and Bachelor’s degrees
  • Level 8 postgraduate certificates, postgraduate diplomas and Bachelor’s Honours degrees
  • Level 9 Master’s degrees
  • Level 10 doctoral degrees (PhDs)
If you studied in Auckland
You have a Level 7 qualification or higher

If you have a Level 7 Bachelor’s degree or higher, you can apply for a Post-study work visa for 3 years.

If you have a Level 7 Graduate Diploma, you can apply for a Post-study work visa for 1 year. You can apply to work for 1 more year if you are working towards occupational registration with a registration body included in a list of acceptable registration authorities. For example, teachers need 2 years’ work experience before they can get a full practising certificate.

If you have another Level 7 qualification, you can apply for a Post-study work visa for 1 year.

Your qualification is at Level 4, 5 or 6

If you have 1 or more acceptable qualifications at Levels 4 to 6, you can apply for a Post-study work visa for 1 year.

You must provide:

  • a copy of your acceptable qualification, or
  • a letter or academic transcript from your tertiary education provider confirming you have completed your qualification.

You must apply in time:

  • You must apply for a work visa no later than 3 months after your student visa expires, or 6 months if you were granted a visa to complete a doctorate.

You need to provide evidence that you have at least NZD $4,200 when you apply. Evidence can include:

  • bank statements
  • credit card statements
  • bank drafts
  • travellers’ cheques.
  • This applies to all Post-study work visa applications for 1, 2 or 3 years.
A standard semester course of 15 points represents 150 hours of study or 10 hours of study per week for 15 weeks (12 teaching weeks and three weeks of study break and examinations).
A full-time course is generally between 54 and 72 points in any one semester or 108 and 144 points in any one year.