New Government proposals affecting international students and their families

On 2 June the Government announced proposals to change post-study work rights for international students. There is also a proposal to change work rights for their partners and study rights for dependent children.

Anyone who is interested can read the proposals and give feedback to the Government before 5.00 pm on Friday 29 June 2018. The full proposals and links to submit feedback are on the MBIE website:

http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/immigration/consultations/immigration-settings-for-international-students

Final changes will be announced in August 2018.

What are the proposals?

  1. To remove post-study employer assisted work visas entirely at all levels.
  2. To provide a one year post-study open work visa for non-degree courses (at or below level 7).
  3. To provide a three year post-study open work visa for degree courses (at or above level 7).
  4. To require students studying at non-degree level 7 (such as graduate diplomas) to study in New Zealand for at least two years to be entitled to post-study work visas.
  5. To change the requirements for a ‘Partner of a student’ work visa (which also allows the partner’s dependent children to qualify for fee-free compulsory schooling) to require the international student partner studying at level 8 or 9 to be studying in an area specified on the Long Term Skill Shortage List.

If the proposals become law, what will happen?

  • If you are studying a course of less than two years at non-degree level 7 or below, you won’t be able to get a post-study work visa.
  • If you are studying a course of at least two years at non-degree level 7 or below, you can get a one year post-study work visa.
  • If you are studying a course at degree level 7 or above, you can get a three year post-study work visa.
  • If you are the partner of an international student studying at level 7, 8 or 9, you will only be eligible for a ‘partner of a student work visa’ if that study is in an area specified on the Long Term Skill Shortage List. Without a ‘partner of a student work visa’, your children will not qualify as domestic students. They will have to pay international student fees unless they qualify in some other way.

What about those who are already here?

The Minister has said that any changes in work rights won’t affect those already here. They will affect students who come to NZ from 2019 onwards. That probably means that any student or post-study work visa applications from 2019 on will be affected.

For further advice, please contact Shane Robinson or Scott Donaldson.

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