19 October 2023 at 10:00 am

‘Apply four months in advance of travel’ - INZ Update

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Visa processing update 

As at 7 October 2023, the average processing timeframe for an international student visa application submitted from outside of New Zealand is six weeks (29 working days). This is counted from the time the student submits their application, until the time the visa is declined, or the visa granted. Whilst the average processing time is six weeks, Immigration New Zealand continues to strongly recommend that students apply for their visas around four months ahead of their intended travel date, especially as we are entering the main student processing peak combined with summer, which sees high numbers of visitor visas. We cannot prioritise processing for late applications and are unable to prioritise based on travel bookings. Students should not finalise travel plans until they have their visa granted.  

The approval rate for offshore student visa applications received (1 Aug 2022 – 7 Oct 2023) is 84% 

Tertiary student in-study work rights  

Tertiary students’ in-study work rights have typically been linked to whether the qualification being studied gains points under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). As of 9 October 2023, only qualifications at Bachelor’s degree Level 7 or above qualify for points.  

 To maintain work rights for tertiary students, references to the SMC in the in-study work instructions have been removed. Eligible qualifications, programme level and type will be shown instead, to carry over the eligibility of many students studying below a Bachelor degree.  

Since 9 October, all students studying a full-time programme that directly results in a New Zealand qualification at Level 4 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF) are eligible for in-study work rights of 20 hours per week. Training schemes and micro-credentials are not qualifications and remain ineligible for in-study work rights. 

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