Work rights for English language students in Canterbury will be extended, giving a boost to the export education sector in the region, Immigration Minister Nathan Guy says.

Under the trial, which will be run and monitored for 18 months, work rights will be extended to English language students who attend quality education providers in Canterbury.

Students will be eligible to work 20 hours a week provided they are studying an English language programme of at least 14 weeks' duration or a level 4 foundation certificate of one academic year's duration.

At the moment part-time work eligibility for English language students is limited to those who already have a reasonable level of English and are enrolled in programmes of at least six months.


"The 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," Mr Guy said.

"Foreign students are an important industry for Canterbury, but numbers have taken a hit since the major earthquakes."

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.

The change will come into effect on August 27.