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Category Archives: Visas

Post-Study Work Visas – what’s changing?

Are you thinking about staying to work in New Zealand after you graduate from the University of Otago? Or maybe you are considering the University of Otago as a study destination and wondering whether you can work in New Zealand after graduating? In this post, Anna explains the recent changes to post-study work rights for international students

Recently the New Zealand Government announced changes to the conditions and length of the post-study work rights for international students.  These changes will start from 26 November 2018.

The new changes will mean most students who graduate from the University of Otago will experience fewer visa applications, a greater freedom to work and potentially less risk of exploitation by employers.

Post-study work visas will be granted with ‘open’ work conditions.  The ‘open’ work conditions mean that your visa is not linked to any employer and will allow you to work in almost any job, for any employer, anywhere in New Zealand after finishing your New Zealand study.

 How will this change affect you?

We would really like to answer this question in detail here. However, your eligibility for the post-study work visa, and the duration that will be granted, does depend on a number of factors including when you started your qualification, your qualification level and the length of your study in New Zealand.

To help you understand the changes, Immigration New Zealand have put together an information factsheet and list of frequently asked questions to assist international students. We recommend that you take a look at this information first and then, if you need further assistance with finding the right information for your situation, you can contact our office for support.

Prepare for your future career in New Zealand

Consider volunteering while you are studying – this is a great way to help develop skills that add to your CV (also known as a resume) and enhance your future employability. Remember, employers are not just looking at your academic record but also value real-life experience.  Volunteering may also provide you with an opportunity to explore Dunedin, engage with the local community and culture, meet new people and practice your English.  The University Volunteer Centre is on campus and offers an easy way to get involved in volunteering.

We also suggest you make use of the University of Otago Career Development Centre, which is available to all students, including international students.  This is a great resource on campus to help you plan your career path, prepare for the job market, and develop a NZ-style CV.  Do not wait until after you have graduated to talk to them, the best time to make use of their services is after completing your first year of study (or as soon as you arrive if you are only here for a year).

Know your work rights in New Zealand

Student visa holders with work conditions and work visa holders have the same rights and responsibilities as New Zealand workers.  It is a crime for employers to exploit you or impose illegal working conditions.  Immigration New Zealand have some information about migrant exploitation on their website, and international students studying at the University of Otago can also contact our team of international student advisors for support and advice.


 Anna McLachlan is the Team Leader, Compliance Services in the International Office.  Anna and her team members, Kathy and Angelique, provide a student visa renewal service on campus and are available to assist students with student visa and insurance queries.  If you need help with finding information about post-study work visa category, you can also contact them by emailing