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Working while Studying

Many people will tell you that you shouldn’t work while you are studying abroad, because it “takes away from the experience” or it takes up too much time and makes it so you aren’t able to see the country. But, the good news is that most jobs will work with you so that you can pursue your studies and still have some free time to enjoy the sites. Also, because New Zealand only allows you to work 20 hours a week on a student visa, you don’t have to worry about it taking over your entire life. You will still be able to have the full experience of being in another country while getting some money and experience on the side.

So why would you work while studying in New Zealand? Here are a few of the most popular reasons that you will hear from other people when trying to decide whether or not you should be working while you are studying abroad. Instead of just riding on loans and other aid, a job can provide you with the following benefits.

  • You can ensure that you have the money available so that you can prove your eligibility for a student visa to start with. Having a job secured can make the process of ensuring your funding when you apply for your student visa.
  • You can use the money to enjoy yourself and sustain yourself while you are residing in the country, so you can alleviate any stress that may occur because of monetary reasons. Money can be stressful, so you may as well do something to help alleviate that stress so that you can focus on your studies and do better while you are earning your degree.
  • Some studies suggest that if you work while you are in school, your grades are actually better, as long as you are working a reasonable amount of hours. That’s part of the reason why New Zealand actually restricts the number of hours that you work to 20 per week during the semester.
  • You will get work experience, which can be valuable to you when you graduate. In some cases, it can even assist with your studies to a point. An important note to realize: if you are getting educational experience at your job, you may want to see if you can get academic credit for it. If you can, you can actually work for more than 20 hours per week because it is considered to be part of your program.
  • You may even get to travel while working, depending on what you do. That way, you get to see more of the country and earn some cash while you are doing it.

There are a number of stipulations that you must adhere to if you are looking to work while you are studying in New Zealand. There used to be a number of things that you need to do in order to be able to work. You used to have to apply for what is called a variation of condition, which allowed you to work for 20 hours per week during the semester, and 40 hours per week during the Christmas and New Year’s break, which is equivalent to the summer university break in the northern countries. You were not allowed to work during the break in between semesters (June and July) at all. The exception, of course, is if you were taking an internship or apprenticeship as part of your educational program. If you breached this at all, or tried to work without permission from Immigration New Zealand, then you could lose your visa and be deported from the country.

Now, in January of 2014, these rules went through a very large overhaul. It became much easier for international students on a visa to be able to work while they are studying. Here are some of the ways that these rules changed.

  • Full time students were allowed to work during any course breaks, even the ones in between the two semesters (June to July). They can work full-time during that break as well, which allows you to secure a little more income while studying in New Zealand.
  • Those who are working on a doctorate or a research master’s degree will be allowed to work full-time at any type of job. No permission is needed in order to do so, as long as you have an eligible student visa.
  • Those who speak English as their primary language will be allowed to work 20 hours per week during the semester. There is no need for you to get a variation on your visa or any other special permission in order to do so; it’s just part of obtaining your visa. Those who do not speak English as their primary language will still need to go through the variations process in order to obtain employment while on a visa.

As you can see, there are a lot of things that you may have to do in order to ensure that you are able to work while you are in the country. But the benefits definitely outweigh the amount of time that you have to take in order to be able to work. If you need help updating your work visa, then you can contact Immigration New Zealand or your international studies office for more information. They can help you out.

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