New Zealand announces enhanced work rights for students

The New Zealand immigration minister, Nathan Guy has announced a scheme intended to encourage overseas students to study in the region of Canterbury, New Zealand. The New Zealand government will grant enhanced employment rights to a wider range of English language students who study in Canterbury. The new rules will come into force on 27th August 2012.

Mr Guy said that overseas student numbers had fallen since the severe earthquake which caused huge damage to Christchurch, the major city of the Canterbury region in February 2011. He said 'Foreign students are an important industry for Canterbury but numbers have taken a hit since the major earthquakes. This new initiative will help attract more international students to Christchurch stimulating the industry and local economy.'

The policy will be run initially as an 18-month trial. Students attending 'quality education providers in Canterbury' will be eligible to work for 20 hours per week. They must be studying on an English language programme of at least 14 weeks in length or a Level 4 Foundation Certificate lasting for a full academic year. A list of qualifying institutions can be found on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority website. At present, only those with a reasonable level of English who are studying in programmes of at least six months have the right to work.

Mr Guy said 'The (education) sector has told us that eligibility for work rights will help attract students and is a practical way in which we can help in the rebuild of Canterbury. This trial will help to boost student numbers, and have flow-on effects for the wider economy by attracting more people to live, work and spend in the region.'

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