Living Cost


You will find the cost of living in Hamilton is less than in many of New Zealand’s other major cities. You will, however, need to plan carefully to ensure you have sufficient money to cover your accommodation, and daily living expenses such as groceries, phone and electricity bills, and transport.

The amount of money you need will depend on whether you are a single student or here with a family where and how you live, any further travel you choose to undertake, and your expenditure on entertainment and personal items. In addition to tuition fees and airfares, if you are a single student you will need at least NZ$18,000 per year for living costs.

Work In New Zealand

International students may be eligible to work up to 20 hours Work while studying under present immigration regulations international students on long term student permits are entitled to work up to 20 hours per time and week during term 40 hours during the summer break.

Per Week If They Are:

  • Enrolled in a full-time course lasting at least two academic years;
  • Studying towards a New Zealand qualification that would gain points under New Zealand residence policy; or
  • Studying a full-time course to develop English language skills – to qualify, you must have an IELTS (General or Academic Module) overall band score of at least 5.

Students must not undertake employment in New Zealand until they have permission from the New Zealand Immigration Service. This permission stating rights to work is automatically printed on student visa label provided the student applies for variation of conditions to student permit while visa application.

Works After Graduation

International students who have graduated with a NZ qualification are now eligible to apply for the Graduate Job Search Work Permit. This 1 year permit/visa allows International Graduates to work for any employer in New Zealand. If during the 1 year period, students find employment relevant to the qualification studied, they may then apply to New Zealand Immigration to have the work permit/visa extended for up to 2 years.

To be eligible to apply for the Graduate Job Search Work Permit, students should have successfully completed, in New Zealand, a qualification that would gain points under New Zealand Immigration Skilled Migrant Category.

Paying Income Tax

Before you start work, you need an IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number. It normally takes 8-10 days to process your application.

As soon as students receive income from your part-time job or from other New Zealand income sources, they are legally obliged to pay tax to the government. This is usually automatically deducted from the wages by the employer. The tax deducted may vary from 15 cents to 39 cents per dollar, depending on the earnings. However, this deduction can go up to a high, non-declaration rate of 45 cents per dollar if the student does not fill a Tax Code Declaration Form given by the employer at the beginning of work.

If students work only for part of the year, they are probably entitled to a tax refund. To check the eligibility for a refund, students have to contact the IRD for a personal tax summary.


The New Zealand Department of Immigration has a number of different immigration streams including:

Work to Residence – Talent Category

Skilled workers can be employed under the “Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Policy”. Accredited New Zealand employers can offer work to non-New Zealand citizens or residents without having to prove that there are no suitably qualified New Zealanders able to fill the post. Workers accepted under this category can become eligible for New Zealand residence after two years. Under this category you need to be working in the new job for a minimum of two years and be earning at least $55,000.

If you have any children or a partner who plan to study at tertiary level during your stay in New Zealand, they will be charged international student fees if you are granted a visa under this category.

This visa category allows you to work and live temporarily in New Zealand for 30 months, but after working under this category for 24 months you are able to apply for residence under the Residence from Work Category.

Visa Information New Zealand

Skilled Migration Visas

There are a number of requirements for skilled migrants under the New Zealand points-based system including: age, heath and character, English abilities, a recognized qualification and work experience, family already in New Zealand and a job offer.

An offer of employment qualifies for points under the system if:

  • The offer is for genuine, full-time employment in which the employee earns a salary or wages or holds a contract position. Positions paid by commission or retainer do not gain points
  • The offer is for ongoing employment.
  • The employer has a history of good work practices, such as meeting all New Zealand immigration and employment laws.
  • The employment of the applicant meets all New Zealand immigration and employment laws and policies.

This category allows you to work in live in New Zealand permanently and is the most direct pathway to New Zealand residency.

Visitors’ Visas

Visiting academic staffs who are British citizens or holders of a British Passport are eligible to visit New Zealand without a visa for up to three months and may study one course of up to three months, or undertake personal studies. If you wish to stay longer you should apply for a Visitor’s Visa, which will allow you to stay in the country for nine months. You will be required to show that you have enough funds to support yourself, and any family accompanying you, for the length of your stay.

Other Visas

Academics may also be eligible for a specific purpose or event (temporary) visa if they have an invitation by a university or short-term job offer, and the university can confirm to immigration new Zealand that the prospective employee needs to work in new Zealand for the period of time requested, and they are qualified or skilled in areas relevant to the purpose or event, and their skills, attributes or expertise will benefit new Zealand.