A range of changes to the post-study work rights of international students has been announced today, in an attempt to reduce student exploitation and incentivise study in the regions.
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said today the changes will "boost New Zealand’s economy, reduce student exploitation and promote our regional education offerings".
"The removal of employer-assisted post-study work rights at all levels will help reduce the risk of migrant exploitation, and better protect New Zealand’s international reputation."
Universities NZ executive director Chris Whelan welcomed the changes, calling international education "a valuable export earner for New Zealand" and said the "two-way flow of people between New Zealand the rest of the world is critical for both New Zealand and its people".
From November 26, changes to post-study work rights include:
· Remove the employer-assisted post-study work visas at all levels;
· Provide a one-year post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications, with an additional year for Graduate Diploma graduates who are working towards registration with a professional or trade body;
· provide a two-year post-study open work visa for students studying Level 4 to 6 and non-degree Level 7 qualifications outside Auckland provided study is completed by December 2021.
· provide a three-year post-study open work visa for degree Level 7 or above qualifications; and
· require international students studying Level 8 qualifications to be in an area specified on the Long Term Skills Shortage list in order for their partner to be eligible for an open work visa, and in turn for the partners’ dependent children to be eligible for fee-free domestic schooling.