Working while studying
Getting a part-time job while you study can help you pay your living expenses, meet new people and learn about the New Zealand workplace. It’s also a great way to practice your English.
New Zealand student visas usually allow full-time students to work up to 20 hours a week during the academic year and up to 40 hours a week during the summer break. This applies to both secondary school and tertiary students. Research master's and PhD students can work 40 hours a week all year round.
Check your student visa – it will show if (and when) you are allowed to work. You can find out more about working on a student visa on Education New Zealand's NauMai NZ website.
How much will I be paid?
You will be paid at least the minimum wage of NZ$21.20 an hour, though you may earn more than this. You will also be paid for annual and public holidays, and for rest breaks.
Will I pay tax?
You will pay tax on what you earn. The current tax rate is 10.5% if you earn less than NZ$14,000 a year. Before you start working you need to get an IRD number from New Zealand’s tax department, Inland Revenue. You can apply for a number online.
How can I find part-time work?
Your education provider may be able to help you find work – talk to student support services.
You can also find work through Student Job Search, a national organisation that helps students find part-time work throughout New Zealand.
Many part-time jobs are also advertised on the job-vacancy websites Trade Me and Seek.
What part-time jobs can I get?
International students do all kinds of part-time jobs, from babysitting to working in their education provider’s library. The jobs you are most likely to find include:
Retail sales assistant: Many Kiwi stores offer part-time work to students. You will help customers choose products and take payment from them, and also deal with stock and cleaning. Most New Zealand stores close by 6pm, but you may have to work on Saturday and Sunday.
Seasonal worker: Seasonal work is available in orchards and vineyards harvesting and preparing fruit and vegetables for sale. You don’t need any particular skills to be a seasonal worker, which is a popular job for students over the summer break.
Supermarket assistant: Supermarkets provide employment to people from many different countries and they often employ students to work on weekends and in the evening. You can do a range of jobs from stacking shelves to working on the checkout.
Waiter/waitress: Thousands of Kiwi students work in the hospitality industry and it’s a good job for international students too – particularly if you speak good English. There is no tipping culture in New Zealand, but you may be given a free meal during your shift.
Kitchenhand: Kitchenhands wash dishes or do simple food preparation. Be prepared to work hard!
Bartender: You need to be 18 to become a bartender. You’ll also need excellent English language skills and to enjoy talking to strangers. Bartending is usually an evening job and you may not finish till after midnight.
Call centre worker: Call centre work is great for fitting in around your academic schedule but it does require good English.
About the contributors
Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student.