Regulations to better support international students

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

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

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

  • education providers are required to achieve the 10 outcomes outlined in the Code of Practice, following prescribed key processes.
  • the Code Administrator, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), has the power to take actions against education providers who don't follow the code.

Code of Practice 2016 — NZ Legislation website (external link)

The NZQA ensures education providers follow the Code of Practice. NZQA has developed guidelines to support education providers to implement the Code.

Caring for international students — NZQA website (external link)

The International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS)

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

Helping international students resolve complaints with their education provider — iStudent Complaints website (external link)

FairWay Resolution Limited administers the DRS.

Further information about the DRS is available on the New Zealand Government's Legislation website.

International Student Contract DRS Rules 2016 — NZ Legislation website (external link)

Making a complaint

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

Student complaints about an education provider — NZQA website (external link)

If the complaint is contractual or financial, NZQA will direct the complainant to FairWay Resolutions Limited for the complaint to be resolved under the International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS).

The DRS is a free service for students. Students may choose to use the DRS or take the case to a tribunal or court, 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 refer other concerns to other relevant agencies.

Funding for administering the Code and DRS

Funding comes from the Export Education Levy collected from all education providers enrolling international students.

New Export Education Levy rates from 2019

The Ministry's role

The Ministry's role is to lead policy advice on international education, including the:

  • Code of Practice and DRS rules
  • Export Education Levy regulation, and
  • International Education Strategy

International Education Strategy

We administer the Export Education Levy which is funded by providers for a wide range of initiatives for export education, including funding the administration of the Code of Practice and the operation of the DRS.

New Export Education Levy rates from 2019

We also provide approval for exchange programme organisations and school-to-school and tertiary provider exchange programmes.

New Zealand schools approved to operate exchange programmes (external link)

Related links

Ministerial press release on the updated Code 2016 (external link)

Changes made to the draft new Code of Practice following sector consultation [DOCX, 77 KB]

Changes made to the draft DRS rules following sector consultation [DOCX, 59 KB]

Education Amendment Act 2015 — NZ Legislation website (external link)

Further information

For further information email:

international.division@education.govt.nz

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