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Changes to international student policy

19 April 2005

Changes to international student policy

Enhancements to immigration policy will make it easier for international students to work and study in New Zealand, Immigration Minister Paul Swain said today.

Mr Swain said the changes, which come into force from 4 July, will give more opportunities for international students to gain work permits after they have completed their studies.

"The changes better align student immigration policy with government’s international education strategy as well as making sure New Zealand remains competitive in the global market for students, many of who make excellent candidates under the Skilled Migrant Category,” Mr Swain said.

The changes are:

International students who have graduated from a course that would gain points under Skilled Migrant Category will be eligible for a six month open work permit The pool of students eligible to work part time while studying will be expanded to include Year 12 & 13 school students and some English language students, provided certain conditions, including English language standards, are met Eligible students will be able to apply to work for up to 20 hours a week during term, instead of the current 15 hours Anyone undertaking a course of 12 months or more will be able to apply to work full-time over the summer holidays Partners of students studying in areas of absolute skill shortage and partners of all postgraduate students will be able to apply for an open work permit valid for the duration of the student’s course of study.

Mr Swain said he was determined the increased work opportunities for international students did not affect New Zealanders wanting work.

“This government’s priority is making sure New Zealanders have jobs and that international students are not displacing local workers. Student Job Search and the Ministry of Social Development have both confirmed that currently there is no evidence of displacement, but we want to be sure that this remains the case,” Mr Swain said.

“The Department of Labour will be continuously monitoring labour market indicators including the unemployment rate. If the indicators suggest that there is a risk of displacement, or there is evidence of abuse, these policies will be reviewed.”

Education providers will be required to monitor international students' performance and attendance records to prevent any potential abuse of the system.

The changes are the result of a review of immigration student policy carried out over the last year by the Department of Labour. The department worked closely with other government agencies and Education New Zealand (ENZ), New Zealand’s international education industry’s body.


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