Working While Studying - Everything You Need To Know

Posted by:
16 Jun 2015

Following on from our last blog post about Living on a Budget, we know it’s helpful to have some extra money to spend on activities while you’re studying. Getting a part time job while you study is not only a great way to increase your pocket money, but your English language skills will improve when used in everyday situations and  you’ll also  make plenty of new friends. We’ve collected information about working while on a student visa, and have plenty of tips to help you find a job and find the balance between your work hours and your study time.


Can I work while on a student visa?
Yes you can if you meet the criteria. The New Zealand Immigration website states that you may be able to work up to 20 hours per week while studying English. There are some requirements to meet, but many of you will be eligible to work. Your employer will check your visa and make sure you’re allowed to work and there are some restrictions around employment you need to be aware of – for example it’s illegal to be self-employed or work as an independent contractor while working on a student visa.


Finding and applying for jobs
If finding a part time job interests you, then start looking for a job that you will enjoy and one that closely matches any skills you have, such as cooking or making coffee. You can find job listings on websites such as Student Job Search or Seek. You may also like to approach businesses you are interested in and ask them if they have any positions available.

Examples of part time work opportunities include:

  • Working at a supermarket
  • Being a waiter or waitress
  • Becoming a kitchen hand in a restaurant
  • Making coffees or serving in a café
  • Working in a clothing store
  • Delivering pamphlets or newspapers
  • Looking after children as a nanny or babysitter, or
  • Gardening and doing jobs around a house for people


Many job applications require a CV (Curriculum Vitae) which has your contact information, past work experience, skills and education noted on it. Your teachers or tutors will be able to help you put one together, as well as -a cover letter – a one page document that introduces you and gives a summary of your skills and why you’d be a good fit for the job.

If you are called for an interview the employer thinks you may be a good candidate for the job. Dress appropriately for your interview in nice, tidy clothes and ensure you are well-presented. Speak clearly and with confidence, and don’t be nervous about your English ability – this is great practice. Some questions you may be asked will be about:

  • yourself and any hobbies you have
  • your past work experience
  • your education history and your future goals
  • what you think your strengths and weaknesses are
  • if you have any experience in the job you are being interviewed for
  • scenario-based questions, such as “What would you do if…”


If you are accepted for the job, congratulations! If not, don’t worry – sometimes it takes several applications and interviews to get a job. Stay positive and keep trying. -


Know your rights
Immigration New Zealand has an excellent website to help guide you about working in New Zealand while you study, and your rights as a worker.  Visit to learn more including what to expect, and how to make sure you are working for a good organisation.


Balancing life – study, work and friends
When you have a part time job, it is often tempting to prioritise work over study. It is important to manage your time wisely by preparing a schedule and sticking to it. Study and classes must always be your first priority as this is why you came to New Zealand and attendance is part of your student visa conditions.  

Don’t forget to have some time to yourself, to enjoy socialising with your friends and to enjoy-activities. Remember there are people at your English New Zealand school that can help you work out a plan that fits in all of your study and social needs, while keeping some time to yourself to relax and unwind.

Are you planning to get a part-time job? Already have one? Tell us about it in a comment below! We’d love to hear about your work experiences in New Zealand, and remember that your tutors and teachers are there to help.


Photo credits:

Curriculum Vitae by the Italian voice, CC-BY-2.0

Our smiling hostess by Wonderlane, CC-BY-2.0