International Students: A guide to getting a job in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to study and work, and understandably, many international students are eager to stay in the country following the completion of their qualification. 

Getting a visa to stay in New Zealand shouldn’t be a daunting process. To help you out, we have compiled information from Immigration New Zealand and recruiters to help you navigate the process.


Please note that NxtStep is NOT an immigration agency. 
We DO NOT provide advice or guidance on immigration issues over the phone or via our live chat functions.



If you have recently finished studying in New Zealand as an international student, here are some points to consider:

  • If you wish to stay in New Zealand after finishing your study, you will need to get another visa.
  • A Post Study Work Visa (Open) allows you to find a job that is relevant to what you have finished studying. You can stay in a PSWV for 12 months. Once you’ve found a relevant job, you can apply for a Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted)
  • A Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted) allows you to stay in New Zealand with your employer for another two years, provided that they work that you’re doing is relevant to what you have studied in New Zealand.
  • For more detailed information on work visa’s for recent graduates from New Zealand institutions, visit the Immigration New Zealand website:

If you have recently finished studying OUTSIDE of New Zealand, and are looking for a job in New Zealand, here are some points to consider:

  • In order to secure a job in New Zealand, you’ll need to have the right immigration status and visas. You can find out more about New Zealand visas on the Immigration New Zealand website:
  • You are going up against a wide range of graduates who have studied in New Zealand, so you’ll need to present a very compelling argument to an employer as to why they should hire you, over someone who is already living in New Zealand. 
  • You may need to prove your English and other language fluency to any potential employers.

Tips for getting a job with an NZ employer


Your CV and Cover Letter

When applying for a job, make sure that your CV is laid out cleanly, is easy to read and is easily understood. Here are a few really important things to consider when writing a CV: 

  • You are not expected to include personal information about your religion or marital status etc on a CV when applying for jobs in New Zealand.
  • Your CV should be written in your own words. Employers can tell if you’ve used a professional CV writer, which leaves a negative first impression.
  • When providing a phone number, ensure that it is YOUR phone number and not that of a relative or friend.
  • You will need to provide dates that showcase when you were working and where. Your CV is unlikely to be considered seriously if you do not include dates.
  • You do not need to write big long commentaries about where you've worked or volunteered. Instead, use short, succinct explanations or bullet points to explain. 


The first impression that an employer has of you will likely be in writing, either via a job application or an email. It is important when applying for a job with an NZ employer that you can show them that you understand New Zealand work ethic and expectations. Try to find out the name of the person you are contacting and address them directly, instead of using “Sir” or “Madam”.

Be courteous and polite and avoid any language that may seem demanding. 

If an employer has not responded to your query immediately, wait a couple of days before contacting them again. It is likely that they have a lot of applications to look at, and will be very busy.



Often the people you communicate with when looking for employment in NZ will be from Human Resources. They will be very busy looking for candidates to hire for multiple roles, so it is in your best interests to have all of your documentation ready and provided to them when you submit a job application, to save them, and yourself some time. 



If you are providing references that are outside of New Zealand, make sure that you provide your reference's work email and phone number.

To ensure the employer can conduct the reference check quickly and with ease, it is in your best interests to provide references who can speak English fluently.


Academic Transcripts

If you are providing a scan of your academic transcript from the overseas study, make sure it is clear and easy to read.