Changes to post-study work rights of international students

Have your say on the proposal before June 29, 2018

Venkat Raman

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway proposed a number of changes that would affect the rights of international students to seek jobs after their studies in New Zealand.

The changes have not been effected but he has placed them for public consultation beginning on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

Indian Newslink has carried several articles in the past saying that the post-study work visas have led to misuse and ill-use by some prospective employers, giving unfair deals to students who seek livelihood.

Ending exploitation

Mr Lees-Galloway said the propose changes will help eliminate migrant exploitation and make sure that migrants granted residency contribute the skills that New Zealand needs. “Too many students are being sold a false dream in New Zealand that the current post-study work rights can put students on a fast track to residency here. This has led to a decline in the general skill level of migrants granted permanent residency, and fraudulent and frankly unethical behaviour from some agents, employers and education providers has led to students being exploited,” he said.

Mr Lees-Galloway said that the proposed changes will remove the requirement for post-study work visas to be sponsored by a particular employer.

There have been too many cases where migrant workers have been subject to exploitation because they are dependent on a particular employer to stay in the country, he said.

Limiting work visas

Mr Lees-Galloway said that he also proposes to limit the length of post-study work visas for courses below degree level to one year and remove post-study work rights for courses of less than two years in duration.

Graduates can apply for other visas at the end of their post-study work visa but must meet the usual skills and labour market tests, he said.

“Work experience in New Zealand is important to many students who come here to study.  My proposals retain this while restricting an avenue of exploitation,” he said.

The Minister acknowledges the importance of the international education industry and has affirmed the government’s commitment to ensuing its credibility and attractiveness.

Immigration settings are a crucial component to achieve this aim, he said.

“These proposed changes, if adopted, will not affect current student visas or post-study visas. We must protect our reputation by ensuring that the students who are coming here are motivated by a great education and a positive experience,” he said.

The Proposals

The proposed changes posted for public consultation include (a) Remove the requirement for post-study work visas to be sponsored by a particular employer (b) Provide a one-year post-study work visa for non-degree level 7 or below qualifications (c) Provide a three-year post-study work visa for degree level 7 or above qualifications (d) Require students completing non-degree level 7 or below qualifications to undertake at least two years of study in order to gain eligibility for post-study work rights (d) Require international students studying level 8 or 9 qualifications to be in an area specified in the Long Term Skills Shortage List in order for their partner to be eligible for an open work visa, and in turn the partner’s dependent children to be eligible for fee-free compulsory schooling.

Please read our Leader ‘Work Visas of international students should be regulated’ under Viewlink on Page 12.


Photo Caption:

Immigration Minister Iain Galloway

(Picture Supplied)

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