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International students in New Zealand

international students in new zealand
Chapter 1


Travelling to New Zealand

If you are a student who is quite curious about studying in New Zealand you should know some things before travelling. Currently, the borders of New Zealand are closed due to the ongoing pandemic caused by the Coronavirus. However, there are some exceptions for New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and those who have already studied in New Zealand and want to go back. These categories of people have special exemptions and can go to New Zealand. By the time you are reading this article, this fact could have changed so stay updated with the immigration news 

The offshore visa applications for immigration to New Zealand is currently at a halt. But the good news is new students can immigrate to New Zealand in mid-2022.

Things to know pre-departure:

  • Before travelling you should be vaccinated. For international students, the vaccination is free of charge in New Zealand. 
  • Basic hygiene of washing your hands and sneezing below your elbow should be followed
  • After reaching New Zealand you are required to stay in ‘ Managed isolation and Quarantine’ for seven days and it is also necessary that you complete a period of self-isolation.
  • There is also ‘Quarantine free travel’ where you can travel to some parts of New Zealand without having to complete an isolation period. You can check this website for more information

  • The country currently follows the four levels of lockdown.
  • If you’re a student who is studying online while outside New Zealand, you can study without a visa.
Chapter 2


Visa requirements for study:

  • An offer letter from the educational institution in New Zealand should be approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. 
  • A written letter from the institute or the guardian’s place that your accommodation is available in New Zealand should be given. However, this applies only to students below 18 years.
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to live while you are studying should be given.
  • A return ticket to your home country or evidence of sufficient funds to buy one
  • Screening for tuberculosis should be done if you are staying in New Zealand for more than six months.
  • A police certificate to prove that you are of good character. This is for individuals who are 17 years and older.

These are some of the requirements for a visa.

Visa options:

There are visa options for students who want to study in New Zealand and each visa has different requirements. For instance, some visas allow you to work while you are studying and some do not. Let’s explore the visas 

  • A visitor visa is enough if your course is less than three months.
  • You can apply for a visa to work in New Zealand for three years. It is called the post-study work visa. To get this you need to complete a level 7 Bachelor’s degree. 
  • If you plan to permanently live in New Zealand, you can apply for a resident visa 
  • A fee-paying student visa can be taken if you want to study in New Zealand for more than three years. The criteria required for this is a confirmation from the approved education provider and enough money to pay fees.
  • You can work even for 20 hours a week on this visa 

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Chapter 3

Cost of Living in New Zealand

The cost of living expenses varies in each country hence you must know the living cost and various other expenses to live in New Zealand. Proper planning of all the expenses is essential.

Proof of funds should be submitted along with your visa application in case if a sponsor or a family member is covering your expenses then this document is not required.

Expenses per month/year:

  • If you’re studying in New Zealand for more than a year, a sum of $15,000 should be shown as proof that you can support yourself
  • If you’re studying for less than a year, a sum of $1250 for each month is necessary.
  • An amount of  NZ$20,000 to NZ$27,000 is required for a year.


There are several options such as Halls of Residence, Private accommodation, homestay, or sharing rooms are available in New Zealand

  • The Halls of Residence is an on-campus residence facility. This is available in most universities. This is a very affordable option and it covers your food expenses as well. This costs you NZ$215-NZ$555 per week. 
  • For off-campus residences you can stay in shared apartments or flats; it costs around NZ$120. This varies for different cities. The option of homestay allows you to stay along with a New Zealand family in their homes. This is a great way to learn and experience their culture.
  •  For staying in shared apartments you can choose from single bedroom to four, five-bedroom houses. These flats mostly include ovens, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. In this way, you can share your rent, phone and electricity costs. These cost around NZ$215-NZ$565.


There are different modes of transportation and here we have mentioned some

  • Bus

They are a very affordable mode of transportation which you can use to travel between several towns and cities of New Zealand. Inner-city and SKIP are the main providers of this device. 

Hop and off buses allow you to get down anywhere you want if you have changed your plans. They also help in planning accommodations and activities at each stop.

Average Cost: NZ$10

  • Train

Trains are not a popular mode of transport in New Zealand. They connect the major cities in the North and South Islands. Auckland and Wellington have suburban passenger services.

There are three main trains operated by the Kiwi rail: Auckland to Wellington, Picton to Christchurch, and  Christchurch to the west coast. The TranzAlpine provides you with the most scenic rail journeys in the world.

Average Cost: NZ$49 

  • Ferry

A ferry is a boat that transports passengers and goods. This is a popular mode of transport in the North and South Islands. The two companies that provide this service majorly are Interislander and Bluebridge. There are also other ferries in different cities. Water taxis are also available. These are used to visit small ports which ferries cannot reach. 

Average Cost: NZ$55

  • Car

You can rent a car as this will cost you less. There are a lot of car rental companies in New Zealand. Buying a car will cost you more.

Per day rental SUV: NZ$37

Food and Grocery Expenses

An average weekly spend of NZ$69 on food and groceries is ideal. With this, you can buy a variety of lean meats, fresh produce, whole grain carbohydrates and dairy. You can buy vegetables and sometimes a whole pumpkin can be used throughout the week. With adequate meal planning, you can save money and eat a nutritious meal.  If you are staying in halls of residence then this won’t be a problem.

Phone and Internet Costs

The internet cost in New Zealand costs NZ$47 to NZ$84.95 per month. There are a lot of internet services in New Zealand such as Trustpower, Stuff Fibre, Spark, Contact, Skinny etc. For unlimited wifi, it costs NZ$35 per month. You can also use the free wifi on campus and at cafes. An average smartphone costs NZ$ 363 in New Zealand hence you can use your phone and change your network which is used here. Spark New Zealand, Vodafone New Zealand and 2 degrees provide most of their phone network services here. You can get these network plans along with the internet costs. The average cost of a mobile network is NZ$32.50. 

Banking facilities in New Zealand

The major banks in New Zealand are Kiwibank, ASB Bank, Bank of New Zealand, ANZ, Westpac and TSB Bank. When you use the ATM from a different bank you will be charged a small fee. You can use the store locator on your bank’s website to find the nearest ATMs. Once you arrive in New Zealand you need to set up a bank account. 

  • Fix an appointment with the local branch of your chosen bank
  • You need to get an amount of money to deposit
  • Documents such as your passport, student ID or acceptance letter of your university and proof of your permanent address is required
  • Student visa that is valid for six months or longer
  • IRD number 
  • Tax identification number (TIN) from your home country or from any other country where you are paying tax
  • Some banks such as ANZ, BNZ, ASB, Kiwibank will allow you to open a bank account from your home country. So once you reach New Zealand you can access it.
  • You will get a mail with your account details from your chosen bank and you can deposit your money.

Some of the best student bank accounts for international students in New Zealand are

  • Westpac, StudentPac

They offer current accounts with lower fees, online mobile banking and debit cards. With the save and win account you can win monthly cash prizes.

  • ANZ International student package

Here along with a current account, there are no transaction fees.

  • ASB, Tertiary Account

With this, you can get an interest-free overdraft of up to $2,500 and don’t need to pay any transaction fees.

Healthcare in New Zealand for international students

The healthcare system from your country will be different in New Zealand hence you must know about the healthcare system here. In New Zealand, the healthcare system includes both private and public components. Public healthcare is funded through general Taxations which is managed by the regional agencies called District Health Boards. This public healthcare system is the primary source of medical care in New Zealand. 

  • The international students are required to purchase insurance which gives access to the public hospitals in New Zealand
  • The international students can have a medical appointment initially with the general practitioner, who are the primary care providers and can handle the non-emergency medical situations
  • They may make suggestions to a specialist if required 
  • The primary providers are the host    University’s medical center.

Through the public healthcare system, the medical costs associated with prescription medications, treatments even those that include mental and physical trauma of accidents are covered to the point of reducing the cost to $3- $30.

Chapter 4


New Zealand is an Island country with picturesque views and is the home for its indigenous tribe. 

-This country is famous for its rugby team, Kiwi as they fondly call themselves are passionate about rugby. “All Blacks” is the country’s national rugby team. If you love watching sports then you would enjoy this game! Before every match, the players perform a traditional dance called the Maori war dance.

-If you love the beach, the slopes and the lakes you can see them all in one place. It is located in Hamilton. Most of the major cities are near the coast. But here you get to experience all the major elements of New Zealand’s great outdoors in a single day!.

-If you want to do some wine tasting and like to dine somewhere, New Zealand is the perfect place. The country’s finest wine is produced in a country called Marlborough. You can take a wine tour here and this place has its name in the viticulture industry. 

-If you want to be in a quiet place away from the city then most of the places in New Zealand are like that. Agriculture is the country’s main export industry and you can find more sheep than people there!. 

-Most of the Lord of the Rings series was shot in New Zealand. Middle Earth is a place where it was shot. 

-Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand and the Victoria University of Wellington is located there. Te Papa is a place that has a picturesque waterfront. 

-There is the National New Zealand museum which hosts travelling exhibitions. 

-Hiking is another exciting feature in New Zealand. You can do this in the Northern hemisphere, which is a popular pastime for the people who visit and stay in New Zealand. It has a clean area along with beautiful scenery. 

-Dunedin is the country’s number one student city and the first University in New Zealand is located there. It has beautiful nightlife and a reputation for quality education.

-Queenstown is another popular tourist destination that is located near Dunedin.

Restaurants in New Zealand

New Zealand is known for its picturesque sceneries, beaches, countryside’s and more beautiful places. This country also gives you a taste of various cuisines. 

-The ‘tasty pie’ is New Zealand’s culinary icon and a staple dish. It is a crispy pastry with a savory filling. This is a very famous dish and it is served piping hot.

-New Zealand is an Island and is home to some of the best seafood in the world. In the town of Kalikōura, there is a line of ‘seafood caravans’ along the coast. The most famous is the Nin’s Bin which is owned by a local family and has been selling Crayfish since 1997. 

– The Māori hāngī is a traditional earth oven style cooking. These foods are cooked underground with chicken, pork, mutton and pumpkin. The best place to enjoy this is in Rotorua in central North Island. You can also taste food that has been steam-cooked in naturally heated geothermal pools.

-New Zealand pavlova and fruit salad is another famous dish. New Zealand does agriculture as its primary occupation hence there are a lot of cattle and high milk production. The people there love ice creams and especially ‘Hokey Pokey’. It is a vanilla ice cream with tiny balls of crunchy honeycomb.

-New Zealand is the home to some classic cheese companies. They give not just cheese made of cow’s milk but also sheep and goat cheese. Whitestone and Puhoi Valley are famous for their cheese.

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Chapter 5

Part-time jobs in New Zealand for International Students

A part-time job will help you manage your living expenses and it is a great way to meet new people and learn about New Zealand. 

Things to know

  • A New Zealand student visa allows you to work full time
  • You can work up to 20 hours per week during your academic year and up to 40 hours during your summer break
  • Research students, masters students and PhD students can work up to 40 hours around the year
  • Check your visa if you can work and you should also have a letter from Immigration New Zealand mentioning that you can work

Before you apply for a part-time work

  • Think about how much money you need to cover your finances
  • If you have the time to work while studying
  • Plan your work around your assignments, class works and exam 
  • You should have good progress in your studies because the Immigration of New Zealand may look at it if you want to further continue your studies here
  • If you can manage the stress of working while studying
  • How much time do you need for relaxing, meeting friends and exploring the country

Jobs you cannot do

  • You cannot work as an independent contractor, be self-employed or set up your own business or company
  • You cannot provide sexual services, operate a business that provides sexual services or invest in one

Taxes to pay

  • You will pay based on what you earn.
  • The tax rate is 10.5% if you earn less than NZ$14,000 per year
  • You should get an IRD number from New Zealand’s tax department, Inland Revenue.
  • You can apply for this number online

Employee rights

  • International students have the same legal rights as any working employee in New Zealand
  • You should receive a written employment agreement
  • Be paid the minimum wage rate
  • Meal breaks, rest with limited exceptions
  • A safe workplace 
  • Employment that is free from discrimination 

Types of work

There are different types of work in New Zealand some of them are

  • Casual work is when you don’t have set hours of work but the employer offers shifts as per your needs
  • Fixed-term agreements are for the work that finishes on a particular date for example fruit picking that happens only at a specific time of the year
  • Full time and part-time employment
  • Piece work is where an employer pays you for the number of pieces you have completed
  • The trial period is where you can work for ninety days

Finding a job

There is a wide range of businesses in New Zealand that offer part-time and full-time work. You can choose whichever you like from the hospital industry. There are also other jobs as bartenders, in cafes, and in restaurants. You can even work as a waitress or a waiter, be a salesperson in a retail shop and fruit picker( this job is available only in the summer. If you are a good English speaker then the chances of getting these jobs are higher.


Being a student in New Zealand is exciting as you get to experience different cultures, ethnicity and a good education.

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