New Zealand post-study work visa updates you need to know

Attention students: New Zealand has recently updated its post-study work visa.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday that New Zealand will fully reopen its international borders from July 31, 2022 – three months earlier than originally planned – but changes to the post-study work visa will have a huge impact on international students as there will be tighter requirements relating to their working rights in the country.

“As part of the immigration rebalancing, changes are being made to post-study work visa settings and the funds needed for student visa applicants to support their stay in New Zealand are being increased,” the government said.

Here’s what students need to know about the changes:

Highly qualified professionals are given priority

The new policy change will favor international students at the university level.

The government notes that students will continue to be eligible for post-study work rights if they are studying a bachelor’s, honors, postgraduate, master’s or doctoral degree that they have studied full-time in Nova Scotia. Zealand for at least 30 weeks. .

International undergraduate students will only be eligible for a post-study work visa if their qualification is related to a profession on the new green list, which aims to fill the skills gaps needed to alleviate skills shortages in New Zealand.

The Green List includes 85 occupations, which will provide international students with a streamlined, tiered pathway to residency, attracting highly skilled workers from the healthcare, engineering, business and technology sectors to settle in New Zealand on a long period.

Changes to working rights in New Zealand for international graduates will only allow them to apply for one work permit, with no additional work permits allowed to be issued.

This is to reduce the length of time a person can work in New Zealand without applying for an accredited employer work visa, where the employer must first check whether a New Zealander is available to do the job, the government said.

The government notes that the changes to the post-study work visa parameters will apply to all student visa applications received on or after May 11, 2022 not covered by the transitional arrangements, including student visa applications from people in New Zealand.

International engineering graduates in New Zealand are encouraged to apply for the post-study work visa as recently updated policies prioritize them based on the country’s focus on attracting more candidates in highly skilled professions. Credit: Will Oliver/AFP

Funding requirements will increase

International students will be required to present proof that they have more funds than necessary to support themselves while studying in New Zealand.

Prospective tertiary students will need to prove they have between NZ$15,000 and 20,000 per year, while the figure is NZ$17,000 for prospective students from international schools. These amounts will be prorated for shorter study periods.

The previously required amount expected of international students to cover their cost of living was NZ$15,000 per year regardless of their level of study.

“With the exception of some aviation students, students will be required to pay tuition for the first year or first program of study (whichever is shorter), and they will be required to prove funds for the same period” , the government said.

Changes to visa policy expected to improve New Zealand economy

Changes to post-study work visa requirements reflect the government’s initiative to stem the flow of low-skilled migrants to the island nation.

It also seeks to leverage economic opportunities through the contributions of skilled migrants.

The increased exploitation of migrants was an immediate cause for concern for Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi, who said the changes will aim to tackle the heavy reliance on low-skilled workers during the pre-pandemic days.

Faafoi also focused on building local talent.

“Our plan is to build skills at home,” he said in a statement. “Over the past two years, more than 190,000 New Zealanders have benefited from government investment in skills training, including apprenticeships. On Monday we announced an extension to the Apprenticeship Boost program which will see an additional 38,000 New Zealanders supported in a trade.

“The cornerstone of our rebalancing is the new Green List which will incentivize and attract highly skilled migrants to New Zealand, providing a new streamlined pathway to residency for those who are hard to fill globally. The list includes 85 hard-to-fill positions, including construction engineering, trades, healthcare workers and technology.

Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern said changes to the post-study work visa for international students will diversify the labor pool, while accelerating the recovery of tourism in New Zealand.

New Zealand was originally due to re-open its borders in October 2022.

The government has already introduced a border class exception for 5,000 international students, meaning they can come to New Zealand once their visas are granted.

Due to the pandemic, the number of international students has decreased by 23% (11,915), from 50,920 in 2020 to 39,005 in 2021. The country’s international education sector is valued at around 5 billion New Zealand dollars per year for the country.

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