New Zealand Expands Work Rights for Partners of Students in Key Sectors

21 June 2024: In a significant policy update, the New Zealand government has announced expanded work visa rights for partners of students pursuing qualifications in specific high-demand fields. This change aims to attract skilled workers and support students in specialised education tracks.

Details of the Policy Change

Effective immediately, partners of students enrolled in Level 7 or Level 8 qualifications specified on the Green List can now apply for a work visa with open conditions. This update is part of a broader effort to streamline access to New Zealand’s labour market for skilled immigrants and their families.

Updated Green List Qualifications

The Green List, which details eligible qualifications, has been updated to include main Bachelor degrees and Bachelor Honours qualifications that lead to registration in certain occupations. Notably, these occupations require professional registration rather than specific qualifications from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Impact on Families

This policy change not only facilitates easier access for partners of students to gain employment but also extends benefits to their families. Dependents of these partners, specifically school-aged children, are now eligible to be treated as domestic students. This means they can apply for a Dependent Child Student Visa, allowing them to attend local schools without the burden of international tuition fees.

Eligibility and Application Process

Individuals seeking to take advantage of this new policy should refer to the Green List appendix in Amendment Circular 2024-14 for details on eligible qualifications. Applications for the Partner of a Student Work Visa can now be submitted following the standard procedures with the updated eligibility criteria.

 Green List appendix in Amendment Circular 

Government’s Rationale and Goals

The government’s expansion of work rights is intended to support students and their families during their stay in New Zealand, making it more attractive to international students and skilled workers in essential sectors. New Zealand hopes to enhance its appeal as a top destination for talented individuals worldwide by allowing partners to work without restrictions and children to study as domestic students.

This policy update reflects New Zealand’s strategic approach to education and immigration, focusing on sectors critical to the country’s economic and social development.

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