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Work While Studying in New Zealand

Work While Studying in New Zealand
Alpina ChariMar 1, 2024

Studying in a popular destination New Zealand also comes at a price, as the tuition fees and living expenses are relatively high compared to other countries. The average tuition fee for an undergraduate degree ranges from 20,500 to 25,000 NZD per year and for a postgraduate degree from 19,000 to 50,000 NZD per year. The estimated cost of living varies across different locations within the country, but it is generally around 20,000 to 27,000 per year. To cope with the financial challenges, many students choose to work while studying in New Zealand, which can help them mitigate costs, be financially independent, and gain valuable experience in the local market. Depending on the type and level of study, students may be allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week, and full-time during scheduled holidays and the Christmas and New Year holiday period. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to work while studying in New Zealand, covering the legal requirements, the types of jobs available, the benefits and challenges, and some useful tips and resources. 

Overview: Work While Studying in New Zealand 

Popular jobs Retail, delivery, tutoring, academic assistant 
Work hours 20 hours a week, and full-time during holidays. Research scholars and master’s program students don’t have hourly restrictions. 
Where to find jobs Online job portals, university career centers, networking, etc. 
Minimum wage 23.25 NZD/hour 

How Long Can I Work While Studying in New Zealand? 

According to Immigration New Zealand1, you can usually work up to 20 hours a week during term time, and full time over the holidays, if you are studying a full-time course that meets one of the following criteria:

  • It is for at least two academic years
  • It results in a New Zealand qualification at Level 4 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)
  • It is at least one academic year long and is part of an approved tertiary student exchange scheme
  • You are aged 18 or older, enrolled full-time, and are included in a 2021 RV application as a dependent child

You can also work full-time during scheduled breaks in study if your course is worth at least 120 credits and has a minimum of two semesters for at least eight months. Additionally, you can work full-time during the Christmas and New Year holiday period if you study full-time and your course has a minimum of two semesters for at least eight months.

However, there are some exceptions and restrictions to these general rules. For example, you cannot work if you are in a training scheme or studying towards a micro-credential, as these are not qualifications. You also cannot work part-time if you are a study abroad student or a tertiary exchange student studying a course with a duration of less than one academic year. 

If you are enrolled in a research master’s or doctoral degree program (Ph.D.) awarded by a New Zealand tertiary institution, you have no restrictions on the hours you can work. This is because these programs are considered full-time regardless of the actual hours of study. However, you still need to meet the academic expectations of your program and maintain satisfactory progress.

The duration of your student visa also affects how long you can work in New Zealand. Generally, your student visa will be valid for the same length as your course of study, or slightly longer to allow you some time to prepare for departure or apply for another visa. However, if you want to extend your stay in New Zealand after completing your studies, you may be eligible for a Post Study Work Visa.

To work legally in New Zealand, you need to have an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number, which is a unique tax identification number. You can apply for an IRD number online or by visiting a post office. Additionally,  As a part-time worker in New Zealand, you have the same rights and responsibilities as any other employee. You should have a written employment agreement that specifies your job title, duties, hours, pay, and other terms and conditions. You should also be aware of your rights to fair treatment, health and safety, leave and holidays, and dispute resolution. 

Suggested Reading: New Zealand Post-Study Work Visa

Types of Part-Time Jobs for Students in New Zealand

On-campus jobs are those that are offered by the university or college where the student is enrolled. They are usually convenient, flexible, and related to the student’s field of study. Some examples of on-campus jobs are library assistant, laboratory technician, tutor, research assistant, or student ambassador. On-campus jobs can help students build their academic and professional skills, network with faculty and staff, and access various campus resources. However, on-campus jobs may also be competitive, limited, and low-paying.

Off-campus jobs are offered by external employers in the local community. These jobs are more varied, abundant, and lucrative than on-campus jobs. Some examples of off-campus jobs are customer service representative, delivery driver, retail sales associate, restaurant attendant, or translator. However, off-campus jobs may also be demanding, stressful, and time-consuming.

Internships are usually offered by organizations or companies that are related to the student’s field of interest or career goals. These jobs are usually short-term, project-based, and supervised by a mentor or a manager. Some examples of internships are marketing assistant, software developer, graphic designer, journalist, or teacher. However, internships may also be hard to find, unpaid, and require a high level of commitment and performance.

Work-from-home jobs are offered by online platforms or employers that allow students to work remotely from their home or dormitory. These jobs are usually flexible, convenient, and creative. Some examples of work-from-home jobs are data entry, content writing, web design, social media management, or pet sitting. Work-from-home jobs can help students earn extra income, manage their own schedules, and develop their digital and entrepreneurial skills. 

Suggested Reading: All About New Zealand Student Visa

Popular Part-Time Jobs in New Zealand

On-campus jobs 

Library assistant: This job involves helping library staff with tasks such as shelving books, issuing and returning items, answering queries, and maintaining the library environment. Library assistants can learn about different subjects, improve their communication and organizational skills, and access various resources for their studies.

Tutor: This involves providing academic assistance to other students, either individually or in groups, on subjects that the tutor is proficient in. Tutors can enhance their knowledge, teaching, and interpersonal skills, and earn a good hourly rate.

Research assistant: This job involves assisting faculty members or researchers with their projects, such as collecting and analyzing data, conducting literature reviews, writing reports, and preparing presentations. 

Off-campus jobs 

Retail assistant: This job involves working in a store, such as a supermarket, clothing shop, or bookstore, and performing tasks such as greeting customers, handling transactions, stocking shelves, and arranging displays. 

Service staff: This job involves working in a hospitality setting, such as a restaurant, cafe, bar, or hotel, and performing tasks such as taking orders, serving food and drinks, clearing tables, and cleaning. Service staff can develop their communication, multitasking, and problem-solving skills, and earn tips and commissions.

Delivery driver: This job involves delivering goods, such as food, groceries, or parcels, to customers using a vehicle, such as a car, bike, or scooter. Delivery drivers can set their own schedules, choose their routes, and earn extra income.

Marketing intern: This involves supporting the marketing team of an organization, such as a company, non-profit, or government agency, and performing tasks such as creating and distributing content, conducting market research, managing social media, and organizing events.

Online tutor: This job involves teaching students online, either individually or in groups, on subjects that the tutor is proficient in. Online tutors can use various platforms, such as Skype, Zoom, or Udemy, to deliver lessons, share materials, and interact with students. Online tutors can choose their hours, rates, and curriculum, and reach a wider and diverse audience.

Freelance writer: This job involves writing content for various clients, such as websites, blogs, magazines, or newspapers, on topics that the writer is interested in or knowledgeable about. Freelance writers can use various websites, such as Upwork, Fiverr, or Medium, to find and complete projects, and receive feedback and payment. Freelance writers can improve their writing, research, and editing skills, and build their portfolio and reputation.

Virtual assistant: This job involves providing administrative support to individuals or businesses, such as entrepreneurs, executives, or consultants, and performing tasks such as scheduling appointments, booking travel, managing emails, and conducting research. Virtual assistants can use various tools, such as Google Calendar, Dropbox, or Slack, to communicate and collaborate with their clients. Virtual assistants can develop their organizational, time management, and communication skills, and work with different industries and cultures.

Suggested Reading: Cost of Living in New Zealand for International Students 

How Much Can I Earn While Working as a Student in New Zealand? 

International students on a student visa can work for up to 20 hours a week during the semester and full-time during vacations. The minimum wage rate in New Zealand is 23.15 NZD per hour (before taxes) for workers aged over 18. This means that you can earn up to ~ 460 NZD per week (before taxes) during the semester and more during vacations, depending on your hours and employer.

As for tax requirements and regulations, you will need to pay tax on your income from working in New Zealand. To do so, you will need to:

  • Get an IRD number, which is a tax identification number you’ll need if you’re earning income from working in New Zealand.
  • Work out your tax code or rate, which determines how much tax your employer will deduct from your salary or wages.
  • Give your tax information to your employer, payer, or bank, so they can deduct the right amount of tax from your income.
  • File or approve your end-of-year tax return, which is a summary of your income and tax paid for the tax year (1 April to 31 March)
  • You can use the PAYE Calculator to estimate your take-home pay from hourly wage or salary, taking into account KiwiSaver, Student Loan, Secondary Tax, Tax Code, ACC, PAYE, and other deductions.

If you are a child or young person (aged 14 or younger, or aged 15 to 18 and still at school), you might have to pay tax on your income, depending on where it comes from and how much you earn in the tax year. Some types of income are taxed before you receive them, such as wages, salary, interest, and dividends. Other types of income are not taxed before you receive them, such as money from mowing neighbors’ lawns, childminding, or being self-employed. If you earn this type of income, you only need to pay tax on it if you earn 2,340 NZD or more in a tax year

Suggested Reading: Study Medicine in New Zealand

How to Find Part-time Work While Studying in New Zealand? 

Understand Visa Restrictions: First and foremost, make sure you understand the visa regulations regarding part-time work for international students in New Zealand. Typically, international students on a student visa are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled holidays.

Explore On-Campus Opportunities: Many universities and colleges in New Zealand offer part-time job opportunities on campus. These jobs could include positions in libraries, cafeterias, student centers, or administrative offices. Check with your institution’s career services or student employment office for available positions.

Utilize Online Job Portals: Several online job portals cater to part-time job seekers in New Zealand. Websites like Seek, Trade Me Jobs, and Indeed NZ often have listings for part-time positions suitable for students. Create an account, upload your resume, and start applying to relevant job postings.

Network: Networking can be an effective way to uncover hidden job opportunities. Attend career fairs, workshops, and networking events organized by your university or local community. Join student clubs and organizations related to your field of study to connect with professionals who may offer job leads or referrals.

Visit Career Centers: Visit your university’s career center for assistance with resume writing, interview preparation, and job search strategies. Career advisors can provide personalized guidance and resources to help you secure part-time employment.

Consider Work-Study Programs: Some universities in New Zealand offer work-study programs specifically designed for international students. These programs provide opportunities for students to gain work experience related to their field of study while earning income to support their education.

Explore Hospitality and Retail Industries: The hospitality and retail sectors often have a high demand for part-time workers, especially in popular tourist destinations like Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown. Look for opportunities in restaurants, cafes, hotels, retail stores, and tourist attractions.

Be Proactive: Don’t wait for job opportunities to come to you; be proactive in your job search. Regularly check job boards, follow up on job applications, and reach out to potential employers directly to inquire about part-time positions.

Ensure Legal Compliance: Make sure any job you accept complies with New Zealand’s employment laws and regulations. Familiarize yourself with your rights as an employee, including minimum wage requirements and working conditions.

Suggested Reading: Study Pharmacy in New Zealand


In conclusion, there are many options to work while studying in New Zealand for international students. It is a common choice for many international students who want to gain valuable experience, earn some income, and support their education. However, finding the right balance between work, study, and life can be challenging and requires proper research and planning. Working too much can interfere with academic performance, stress levels, and personal well-being. Therefore, students should prioritize their education and set realistic goals and expectations for their work hours. They should also explore alternative financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, loans, or sponsorships, that can reduce their financial burden and allow them to focus more on their studies. For more information regarding work while studying in New Zealand, contact our admission experts at Gyanberry. Book your free video call appointment now!

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Yes, international students with a valid student visa can work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks.

While studying in New Zealand, international students can engage in most types of work, including casual, part-time, and full-time positions, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their studies.

Yes, New Zealand offers various opportunities for international students to gain practical work experience related to their field of study through internships, co-op programs, and graduate work visas after completing their studies.

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