With a stead economic growth of approx. 3% per year, New Zealand Job market has been strong over recent years. While Covid-19 has disrupted the economy and jobs across different sectors in the country, the government still hopes the workforce to grow at an annual rate of 1.8%, leading to 47,000 more workers per year in the near future.
Majority of jobs in highly-skilled occupations are expected to be filled by people from outside of New Zealand. Student visas in New Zealand let full-time international students work up to 20 hours per week during their academic year and up to 40 hours a week during holidays. The same applies to both tertiary and secondary school students.
Postgraduate research and PhD students can work up to 40 hours a week throughout a given year. However, it will depend on the programme of study one is pursuing at a university in New Zealand. All the information regarding one’s part-time work regulations will be mentioned in the student visa issued to the student.
In case an international student is allowed to work while studying, they can work only as an employee.
An international student is paid a minimum wage of NZ$18.90 an hour, although one may earn more than this. He/she will also be paid for annual and public holidays, and for rest breaks.
An international student, like New Zealand residents, will have to pay tax on what they earn. The current tax rate is 10.5% if someone earns less than NZ$14,000 annually. Before anyone begins working, they would need to get an IRD number from New Zealand’s tax department, Inland Revenue for which they can apply online.
New Zealand offers a wide scope for international students to find part-time work in the country. This includes a good number of New Zealand job websites such as Student Job Search, Seek, New Kiwis, Go With Tourism, Trade Me, Workhere, Do Good Jobs and more.
The education provider may also help find work. However, the best way would be to talk to the university's student support services.
Apart from that, it is best that students build relationships and network with professionals, develop their online presence and update their CVs and cover letters.
There are different kinds of work open to international students on a student visa in New Zealand. The most common of them are:
Casual work: Here one is not required to set work hours but works according to the needs of the employer. Also, the individual would be free to accept or decline the work offered.
Fixed-term agreements: This is the type of work where a set date is mentioned where the work will get over.
Full-time and part-time employment: Full-time work usually means completing 35 to 40 hours a week and part-time work is fewer hours although both grant the same rights. A Master’s or PhD student can work for only up to 20 hours per week if they are on a student visa.
Piece work: This type of work pays one for the number of ‘pieces’ they complete although he/she might still need to receive a minimum wage for every hour.
Trial periods: Here, if the job is at a small to medium-sized organisation, then the employer may ask the employee to work for a trial period of up to 90 days. During this period they get paid and have the same rights as a full-time employee.
Self-employment: Those on a student visa are not allowed to work for themselves.
Here is the list of part-time jobs that an international student is likely to get in New Zealand:
Retail Sales Assistant: He/she will be responsible to help customers choose products and take payment from them along with cleaning and stocking products in the store. Stores in New Zealand usually close by 6 pm.
Seasonal Worker: Available in vineyards or orchards, seasonal workers harvest and prepare fruits and vegetables for sale. No specific skills are required to work as a seasonal worker in New Zealand.
Supermarket Assistant: Usually students take up jobs at the supermarket to work on weekends or in the evenings. The job entails stacking shelves, working on the checkout, helping customers and more.
Waiter/waitress: A lot of international students work in the hospitality industry to get easy money although there is no tipping culture in New Zealand. One may, nevertheless, be given a free meal during their shift.
Kitchenhand: Kitchenhands wash dishes or do simple food preparation. Be prepared to work hard!
Bartender: Only if an international student is 18 or above, can he work as a bartender in New Zealand. He/she must also have good English communication skills who enjoys talking to strangers.
Call Centre Worker: Most international students usually prefer taking up this job as it fits right around any academic schedule.
A lot of international students pursuing higher education in New Zealand find the opportunity to work as part of their studies which majorly includes a short internship. For the same, the student would require a permission from Immigration New Zealand. This will not affect any other work that one may already have.
If the work as part of studies is not mentioned on the student visa, then it shall be obtained by applying to Immigration New Zealand.
As an international student in New Zealand, there are a few types of work that one will not be able to engage in. These are:
Working for oneself. A foreign student in the country should be working for an employer and be participating as an employee. This means that the student cannot work as an independent contractor, establish their own business or company, or be self-employed.
A foreign student will also not be allowed to provide sexual services, run a business that offers sexual services or invest in one.
For those international students in New Zealand who have a level 4 or higher qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), then only they can apply for a post-study work visa.
Based on the qualification that the student holds and from where he/she has pursued the qualification in New Zealand, they may be allowed to work in any field in New Zealand for around one to three years.
It is advised that they check the eligibility criteria for the same, after meeting which they can apply online.
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