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Planning to Settle in NZ: New Zealand’s Visa and Minimum Wage

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New Zealand is consistently ranked among the top places to live globally, thanks to its breathtaking landscapes, high quality of life, and robust economic stability.

New Zealand, known for its beautiful landscapes, lively culture, and excellent quality of life, attracts immigrants worldwide. Ranked 2nd in the 2021 Global Peace Index, it is celebrated for its safety, political stability, and inclusive society. The country offers a balanced lifestyle, merging urban conveniences with easy access to nature’s wonders – from pristine beaches to majestic mountains.

This guide delves into the details of New Zealand’s student and work visas, wage standards, and general lifestyle, providing a thorough overview for those considering making New Zealand their new home.

Student Visas in New Zealand

New Zealand’s educational institutions are respected worldwide, attracting students who seek quality education in a supportive environment. The country offers several types of student visas tailored to different educational paths:

  1. Fee-Paying Student Visa: This visa allows students to study full-time at an approved educational institution for up to four years. Students can work part-time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during scheduled holidays, enhancing their academic experience with work exposure.
  2. Exchange Student Visa: Designed for students participating in official exchange programs, this visa typically lasts up to one year and provides a cultural and educational exchange opportunity in New Zealand’s schools.
  3. Pathway Student Visa: Offering the opportunity to undertake up to three consecutive courses on one visa over five years, the Pathway Student Visa is ideal for students planning a prolonged educational journey in New Zealand.

Post-Study Work Visa in New Zealand

New Zealand offers rich post-study opportunities through the Post-Study Work Visa. This visa allows international students who have completed their education to stay and work in the country for up to three years. It is an invaluable stepping stone for graduates to gain professional experience or transition into more permanent roles.

Eligibility and Conditions

  • Degree Level 7 and Above: Graduates who have completed a degree at Level 7 or higher can apply for the Post Study Work Visa. This visa grants the flexibility to work for any employer across New Zealand, enhancing the scope for career development and professional networking.
  • Non-Degree Level 7 and Below: Students who have completed a non-degree qualification at Level 7 or below may also be eligible for the Post-Study Work Visa. However, the qualification must be included on the Qualifications Eligible for Post-Study Work Visa list. Additionally, the employment secured must be directly related to the field of study. This ensures that the skills and knowledge gained during the course are effectively utilized in the professional environment.

Work Visas in New Zealand

For those looking to extend their stay for professional reasons, New Zealand offers a range of work visas that cater to different skills, backgrounds, and industries:

  1. Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV): Launched in July 2022, this visa streamlines the process for employers facing genuine skill shortages. It requires a job offer from an employer accredited by Immigration New Zealand. Depending on the role and the skills required, it is a pathway to longer-term employment and residency.
  2. Long-Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa: This option allows individuals with skills on the Long-Term Skill Shortage List to gain a work visa. Successful applicants are provided a pathway to residence after two years of working in a shortage occupation.
  3. Working Holiday Visa: Specifically designed for young people aged 18-30 (or 35 in some countries), this visa allows them to travel and work in NZ for up to 12 months (or 23 months if from the UK or Canada). This is an excellent way for young adults to experience life in New Zealand while supporting themselves financially.

Minimum and Median Wage in New Zealand

Financial considerations are crucial when planning to relocate. In April 2024, the minimum wage in New Zealand was updated to NZD 23.15 per hour. This supports a basic standard of living in most areas. However, living costs can vary significantly between cities and rural areas.

The NZ minimum wage has been revised annually, considering inflation and increases in lifestyle expenses.

Date In force


Starting out


1 April 2024




1 April 2023




1 April 2022




1 April 2021




1 April 2020




1 April 2019




1 April 2018




1 April 2017




1 April 2016




1 April 2015




1 April 2014




This table showcases the progressive increase in minimum wage rates over a decade. It reflects New Zealand’s commitment to ensuring fair compensation for its workforce across different employment categories.

The median wage, offering a broader perspective on earnings, is approximately NZD 29.66 per hour, indicating a relatively high earning potential compared to many other countries. This median wage reflects the income distribution across various sectors, highlighting the country’s competitive compensation for skilled workers.

Life in New Zealand

Life in New Zealand is known for its low stress and high standard of living. New Zealanders, or Kiwis as affectionately known, enjoy a balanced lifestyle emphasizing family, community, and outdoor activities. The country’s healthcare system is comprehensive; residents benefit from subsidized or free healthcare services, contributing to the population’s overall well-being. Education in New Zealand is equally commendable, with free access to state schools and numerous higher education options known for their research and innovation.


With its friendly cities, stunning natural environments, and high living standards, New Zealand offers a compelling destination for those looking to study or work abroad. Understanding the nuances of visa processes and the economic environment is essential for anyone planning to make this beautiful country their home. Whether coming as a student, a professional, or a family, New Zealand provides an inviting and rewarding environment for all who choose to settle here.

Reference – https://www.mbie.govt.nz/About ICL ImmigrationICL Immigration, based in Auckland, is an established licensed immigration adviser with over 20 years of experience and a remarkable 97% approval rate. We’ve helped over 1,000 immigrants realize their New Zealand settlement dreams.

We specialise in various visa services, including student, residency, work visas and business-related services like employer accreditation. We ensure personalised solutions for individuals and businesses aiming to navigate New Zealand’s immigration landscape successfully.