Australia v/s New Zealand : Which is better for students? How smooth is getting the PR?

Studying abroad has become so normal these days, as there are so many world class universities open to admission either through TOEFL or IELTS. For many years the trend was towards UK, USA and other European countries; but now the times for sure are changing as students from India are flocking towards Oceanic countries like Australia and New Zealand. Australia is the fourth-most-popular study abroad location for Indian students. Whereas it’s the , the stunning scenery or the locals’ reputation as some of the world’s nicest people which makes New Zealand a delight , these two countries are both incredibly appealing places to spend a semester or two.

But, how to decide? both places have tons of benefits and great study abroad options, so it may seem impossible to choose just one. Still, there are some major factors to consider, including the climate, culture, different types of programs, expenses, your feelings about rugby, and, most importantly, those accents. Nestled next to each other in the Oceania corner of the world, these two island nations are not exactly conveniently located if you’re coming from – well, pretty much anywhere else. Still, their isolation from other continents is part of their appeal – both countries boast unique flora and fauna that can’t be found in any other part of the world. With so much natural beauty, adventure sports for adrenaline junkies and friendly locals, you won’t ever want to leave – which is good, because the nearest countries are still hundreds or even thousands of miles away!

Costly, which one?

 Living on an island is, by definition, rarely cheap, since anything you might want that doesn’t grow there has to be imported.  The University of Technology Sydney recommends that international students prepare for life in the city by arriving with somewhere between A$14,786 and A$25,680 for a full year there. Right now, AD $1 will get you NZD$1.2 – not a huge difference, but that .2 adds up eventually. Though New Zealand is still dearer than most cities but, to their neighbor, they’re positively a bargain.

Can I work while I study?


Full-time international students are permitted to work for a maximum of 20 hours in a week while they are studying. They can also work full time during holidays. Foreign students who wish to work while they study must apply for a variation of the conditions of their student visa. This can be done either while filling out the initial application or later as long as their student visa is valid.

Can I work after graduation?


To encourage international students to stay after completing their courses, the New Zealand government, allows those with no job offers in hand to get a visa for up to 12 months, and work at a temporary job while they search for job in their chosen field. The set of rules under which this is allowed is known as the Graduate Job Search Work Instructions.

Students who secure a job offer upon the successful completion of their degree need to apply for a Graduate Work Experience visa under the Study to Work Instructions. This allows them to work for two years in New Zealand, in order to gain some practical work experience relevant to their qualifications.

The Graduate Work Experience visa can be granted for three years in the case of eligible overseas students who intend to gain a membership or register with a New Zealand professional association which requires more than two years of relevant work experience to join.


Australia provides its international students with a temporary visa which is called, The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) it lets you live, study and work in Australia temporarily after you have finished your studies.

This visa has two streams:

  • Graduate Work stream – for international students with an eligible qualification who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). A visa in this stream is granted for 18 months from the date of grant.
  • Post-Study Work stream – for international students who graduate with a higher education degree from an Australian education provider, regardless of their field of study. This stream is only available to students who applied for, and were granted, their first student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011. A visa in this stream can be granted for up to four years from the date the visa is granted, depending on the visa applicant’s qualification.


How smooth is getting the PR?


When you successfully complete your studies in New Zealand, you become eligible for a guaranteed 12 months job search visa. This visa allows you to stay in New Zealand and work full time in any job. But the important thing is that in these 12 months you have to find a job relevant to the course you just completed. Once you secure this you can apply for a longer work permit which is generally issued for 2 years. At this stage you will have enough points to apply for Permanent Residency.

The points are based on age, qualifications and subject, how long you studied in New Zealand, work experience and industry, spouse qualifications and any blood relatives who are citizens or permanent residents of NZ and willing to support your application. Click on the link below and see how the points are calculated.




Permanent Residency cases are some of the more complicated routes to Australian immigration, due to the seriousness of what approval or rejection could mean for both the country and the client. The Australian government needs to take its time in order to decide whether an applicant fits the bill of an Australian permanent resident, and this often takes quite some time. Many international students studying in Australia dream of one day becoming permanent residents and staying on in Australia for good. The most common pathway for students is to apply for General Skilled Migration on completion of their studies. The SOL sets out skilled occupations for migration to Australia under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa categories and the number of points are awarded to each skilled occupation. In order to lodge a valid GSM application, you must nominate an occupation that is on the SOL when you apply.

                            You should choose to study abroad in Australia if you want to live in a vibrant, active city, can “keep up” with the partying locals, and prefer hot, dry weather and beaches. It also helps if you’ve always wanted to see a kangaroo in person and don’t mind breaking the piggy bank to do it! On the flip side, you should head to New Zealand if you want to be in the middle of nature, are okay with eating lamb three times a week and don’t mind changing weather (and lots of rain!). If you’ve often wondered if you are a hobbit or not (shoes are overrated) and think jumping off of a bridge sounds GREAT, New Zealand will be the perfect fit! Students in New Zealand often rave about the fantastic time they had studying abroad there. Both New Zealand and Australia have tons to offer study abroad students. There are differences in price, weather, location and free-time activities, but both countries are high-demand destinations for a reason.


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Last modified: May 16, 2014