International Education

International education includes international students coming here to study among New Zealanders, our own people travelling the world to experience a global component in their education, and people anywhere, online and internationally, learning through great products, services and approaches built in New Zealand.

We are committed to international education as it provides economic, social and cultural benefits for all New Zealand. It builds on New Zealand’s quality education system and focuses on delivering both good education outcomes for international students and global opportunities for domestic students and our education institutions.

We want every student who studies with us to do well. Our vision is that international students feel welcome, are safe and well, enjoy a high-quality education and are valued for their contribution to New Zealand.

Our work in International Education has adapted to and worked alongside the broader COVID-19 response. Within this context, the overall direction is the same – a focus on an excellent education and student experience.

Our team also contribute to international cooperation and engagement, facilitating the exchange of people, ideas, and good practice, to enhance not only our own education system but to enhance and enrich bilateral and multilateral education relationships.

New Zealand International Education Strategy

The New Zealand International Education Strategy sets a path for the future of the international education sector. The strategy sets out three goals and key actions for government agencies to give effect to the strategy, as well as measures and indicators for success.

International Education Strategy 2022-2030(external link)

  1. Delivering an excellent education and student experience.
  2. Achieving sustainable growth.
  3. Developing global citizens.

Information to support international students and visitors

Definition of a domestic student in New Zealand

International student visitors

Education in New Zealand

Guidance on the provision of education courses to students outside New Zealand

Circular 2020/08 - Eligibility to enrol in New Zealand schools

Regulations to support international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 (the Code) supports the wellbeing of tertiary and international learners enrolled with New Zealand education providers.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is the Code of Practice Administrator. This means that they are responsible for monitoring and supporting providers to give effect to the Code. You can read more at Tertiary and International Learners Code of Practice – NZQA.(external link)

The International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS) resolves contractual and financial disputes between international students and education providers you can read more information at Regulations to better support international students.

Exchange students and programmes

Student exchanges are reciprocal programmes providing an opportunity for students to live and study in another country. Additional information can be found at Exchange Programme Organisations (EPOs)  and School to school exchanges.

Policy work

Immigration settings

We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the immigration system, making sure that students are in New Zealand for genuine study reasons and protecting students from exploitation. We will update this page as this work progresses.

Export Education Levy

The Export Education Levy (EEL) has been reintroduced for 2023. The levy was previously suspended from 2020 - 2022.

The Export Education Levy (EEL) is a levy collected from education providers which enrol international students to fund a broad range of activities related to international education. These include funding for the administration of the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021, the International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme, and the support of Education New Zealand’s marketing and promotion activities.

International Student Wellbeing Strategy

To support the wellbeing of international students, New Zealand education agencies have committed to the International Student Wellbeing Strategy

The international student wellbeing strategy [PDF, 1.1 MB]

The ISWS supports four types of wellbeing:

  • economic wellbeing
  • education outcomes
  • health and wellbeing
  • inclusion.

The ISWS is designed to coordinate government and non-government stakeholders in the international education sector and international students to identify priorities and work together on solutions.

Through the International Student Wellbeing Strategy, a variety of wellbeing projects have been funded, which have produced wellbeing resources to share International Student Wellbeing resources.(external link)


Education New Zealand (ENZ) is a New Zealand's government agency that promotes New Zealand as a study destination and supports the delivery of education services offshore. ENZ is working with education providers, learners, international institutions and other Government Agencies to design new ways of learning that meet the needs of current and future learners, based on New Zealand’s unique competitive advantages Diversifying International Education Products & Services - link)

Student Recruitment

The focus of this work is on the promotion and attraction of international students to New Zealand. Education New Zealand (ENZ) is looking at new innovations in this area Agent Engagement - link)

Information on border exceptions for international students

The return of international students has been crucial to support the recovery of the International Education Sector. To support this and help institutions maintain relationships, education agencies have facilitated four cohorts for 7,500 international students to enter the country ahead of the border fully reopening to international students on 31 July 2022. Universities, Te Pūkenga, Private Training Establishments (PTEs), English Language Schools (ELS) and schools’ sectors have received allocations of places through these border exceptions. Education agencies have nominated eligible students to Immigration New Zealand and the nomination process has closed.

Who we are

The International Division is headed by Group Manager Shelley Robertson. The team covers Policy Development and International Cooperation and Engagement.

International Education Policy team

Freddy Ernst is the Senior Policy Manager. The International Education Policy team leads strategy and policy for international education and advises Ministers on the wellbeing and pastoral care of international students. It provides advice and regulatory advice on students at the interface between domestic and international and advice on areas like scholarships, exchange programmes, cultural competency, global citizenship across the education system. The team works with education, social, economic, labour market, research, and international relations policy agencies.

Corwin Wallens is the Chief Policy Advisor; this role is part of the part of the International Division’s leadership team. Key topics for the division include the value of international education to New Zealand, student wellbeing, sustainability, diversity for the sector and (future) student outbound mobility.

International Cooperation and Engagement team

Daniel Tasker is the Senior Engagement Manager. The International Cooperation and Engagement team manages bilateral relationships, including Education Cooperation Arrangements with many other countries, and multilateral relationships, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Education Network and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. These relationships and commitments enrich the New Zealand education system by connecting it to innovation and good practice, research, expertise, data and knowledge.  We work across the Ministry and agencies domestically, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Education New Zealand, and abroad. This team also coordinates education-related reporting on New Zealand’s international commitments, such as Sustainable Development Goal 4.

This International Cooperation and Engagement team helps to coordinate ministerial and official travel, both outwards and inwards, and conferences and events, to foster education system connections and knowledge exchange.  

If you have questions about international education policy, official visits to the New Zealand Ministry of Education or requests for comparative information or contact points, please contact our dedicated mailbox

The Secretariat for the New Zealand National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is part of our team. The Commission connects New Zealand to UNESCO and leverages UNESCO collective resources, networks and programmes and applies them in a way that benefits Aotearoa New Zealand.

Bringing the world to Aotearoa – New Zealand National Commission of UNESCO(external link)


Research publications — Education Counts website(external link)

Statistics — Education Counts website(external link)

International education links and resources

Education New Zealand (ENZ) website(external link)

English New Zealand website(external link)

Fulbright New Zealand Aotearoa website(external link)

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website(external link)

ISANA: International Education Association website(external link)

New Zealand Educated website(external link)

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) website(external link)

New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) website(external link)

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) website(external link)

Universities New Zealand — Te Pōkai Tara website(external link) 

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