Advice for international students

New Zealand's job market
Can I work in New Zealand once my studies are over?
Can I work in New Zealand during my studies?
I am planning to return home

As an international student you are welcome to access the full range of career advice, information and resources available from the Career and Employment Service. Resources include materials on finding and applying for work in New Zealand and in other countries. You can also meet with a career adviser to discuss issues that include choosing a career; finding job opportunities; researching roles and employers; identifying options that might use your subject; development and review of your CV; interview skills and other related career matters.

We recommend that you access the information and advice at:

What's new?

Although written primarily for newcomers to New Zealand, you may find the following resource useful - particularly if you have professional qualifications and experience gained overseas and a language background other than English:

Communicating effectively in a job interview (8,076 KB)

New Zealand's job market

Employers expect you to have researched them; the sector they’re in and the role for which you are applying. You’ll also need an understanding and analysis of factors such as your skills, values, interests and personality. The information and resources in the 'Get started' section of this site will help with this self-analysis.

Having considered the types of work that might suit and interest you, the following websites will give you a detailed insight into the New Zealand economy; sectors that are growing or contracting; skill shortage areas and related topics:

Can I work in New Zealand once my studies are over?

Many New Zealand employers will only consider those who hold New Zealand citizenship or permanent residence. However, it may be possible for you to work in New Zealand after graduation if you meet the current criteria set out by the New Zealand Immigration Service.

You will generally find it easier to secure employment (and the required visa) if you are seeking work in an occupation in which there is a skill shortage in New Zealand. As a result, it is vital that you research the New Zealand labour market.

Also note that your qualification alone will not be enough. Employers will look at

  • the quality of your application,
  • your abilities in spoken and written English,
  • the extent to which you have acclimatised to life in New Zealand,
  • how you present yourself in person,
  • your self-confidence and maturity,
  • your motivation for the role and for working for them,
  • the extent to which your career plans are well thought out and the relevant skills that you can offer them.

Vital too, will be the strategies that you adopt to find work. These may well be different in New Zealand to those that you would use in your ‘home’ country.

Can I work in New Zealand during my studies?

Again it is vital that you check the current Immigration New Zealand regulations before seeking work during your studies.

How do I find work?

  • Advertised jobs - Any job search that you undertake should include accessing vacancies that have been advertised on the internet and/or in the press.

  • The ‘hidden’ job market - A high percentage of job opportunities in New Zealand are never advertised. Instead, many people find work through connections that they have or by directly approaching organisations to enquire about possible opportunities.

For more information on this you should access the Career and Employment Service’s resources on this site's Get employment section.

What do New Zealand employers look for in job applications?

Employers will look at:

  • Your subject, level of qualification (e.g. degree; diploma; masters and so on) and grades,
  • The relevance of your knowledge and skills to the job concerned,
  • Your competence in spoken and written English,
  • Whether or not you have work experience and the relevance of your experience to the role you now seek,
  • The extent to which you have integrated into New Zealand and whether they feel that you will ‘fit in’ to their organisation.

Getting experience

You should try to find work experience whilst you are studying. This could be part-time; vacation work or voluntary (i.e. unpaid) work. Employers value this experience and it can be a useful way for you to make contacts; to demonstrate that you have had contact with New Zealanders; to develop your skills; to try out different work practices and environments; to generate and explore career ideas and to practice your English. You should find Massey University CareerHub useful when seeking work.

English competence - proficiency in speaking, writing, reading and listening – is important. Any opportunities that you have to develop this should be taken up - e.g. work; joining clubs and societies; mixing with native speakers of English and using the university’s language services etc.

Remember that most organisations in New Zealand are small. Employers will want to see what you can do for them and that you can make a positive contribution early. Think of everything that you have that might be relevant to them.

Click here for more information to help you get experience.

I am planning to return home

Are you an international student from one of the countries listed in the column on the right? If you are, and you are planning to return home, check out the guides in the right-hand column. These guides may be of use to you, they were written for international students in the UK but are still a valuable source of information and advice.

It may also be useful to access:

Working Abroad - from Prospects.

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