Regulations to better support international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code Of Practice 2016 replaces the existing Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students on 1 July. On the same day, a new International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS) is established to resolve contractual and financial disputes between international students and education providers. Both will better support and care for international students in New Zealand.


Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016

The new Code of Practice came into force on 1 July 2016. It means:

  • Education providers are required to achieve the 10 outcomes outlined in this new Code of Practice, following prescribed key processes.
  • The Code Administrator, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), has new powers to take actions against education providers who do not follow the code.

You can read the new Code of Practice on the Legislation website

NZQA ensures education providers follow the Code of Practice. NZQA has developed guidelines to support education providers to implement the Code. Go to the Caring for international students information on NZQA's website.

The new International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS)

This provides a free, faster and more effective process for students to resolve contractual and financial disputes with education providers.

FairWay Resolution Limited will be administering the Dispute Resolution Scheme. Go to the iStudent Complaints website to find out about the complaints process.

FairWay has been appointed by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.

You can read the new International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS) on the Legislation website

Making a complaint

Students (or their advocates) need to contact NZQA first when they have any concerns or complaints about an education provider.

If the complaint is contractual or financial, NZQA will direct the complainant to FairWay Resolutions Limited to be resolved under the International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS). It’s up to the student if they use the DRS (which is a free service) or take the case to tribunals or courts which will charge a fee to users, and may take longer.

NZQA can also assist with education quality concerns about institutes of technology, polytechnics and private training establishments, but will triage other concerns to other relevant agencies.

Transition arrangements

The existing Code of Practice will continue to be used until 1 July 2016. The existing complaints process - the International Education Appeal Authority (IEAA) and Review Panel - will continue to exist beyond 1 July 2016 to finish dealing with all cases submitted to them before 1 July. All complaints and/or disputes after 1 July 2016, will be dealt with under the new Code of Practice and/or the DRS.

Funding for administering the Code and DRS

Funding comes from the Export Education Levy collected from all education providers enrolling international students. The levy will not be increased. Costs will be monitored and the DRS will be reviewed in 2 years time.

Go to the Export Education Industry Levy information for more details.

The Ministry's role

Further information

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