International Education

We are committed to international education as it provides social, cultural and economic 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.

International education includes:

  • international students coming to Aotearoa New Zealand 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 Aotearoa New Zealand.

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

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

New Zealand International Education Strategy

The New Zealand International Education Strategy sets a path for the future of the international education sector. The Strategy describes a high-value, resilient and innovative international education sector, for both international and domestic students. It sets out three goals and key actions for government agencies to give effect to the strategy, as well as measures and indicators for success.

  1. Delivering an excellent education and student experience.
  2. Ensuring international education is resilient and sustainable.
  3. Developing global citizens.

International Education Strategy 2022-2030(external link)

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.

International cooperation and engagement

The Ministry develops and maintains education relationships with key countries, and contributes to the several multilateral organisations. The Ministry manages international obligations by contributing to the education related aspects of New Zealand’s human rights reporting process, Sustainable Development Goal 4 and education specific legal instruments.

The Ministry manages bilateral relationships, including Education Cooperation Arrangements with many other countries, and is active in multilateral fora, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Education (APEC) Network and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Ministry also coordinates ministerial and official travel, to foster education system connections.  

These relationships and commitments enrich the New Zealand education system by connecting it to innovation and good practice, research, expertise, data and knowledge.  The Ministry works with agencies domestically, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Education New Zealand, and others abroad.

The Secretariat for the New Zealand National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 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) 

Regulations to support international students

Code of Practice and Dispute Resolution Scheme

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 Code brought together the existing codes for the wellbeing and safety domestic and international students, The Education (Pastoral Care of Domestic Tertiary Students) Interim Code of Practice 2019, and The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016. All providers that enrol international students must be signatories to the Code.

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.

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.

Regulations to better support international students

Student exchange programmes

Student exchanges are reciprocal programmes providing an opportunity for students to live and study in another country. Additional information can be found at:

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. For further questions about visa settings, visit:

Immigration New Zealand website(external link)

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 and the International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme.

International education resources

Study with New Zealand website(external link)

Education Counts website(external link)

Education New Zealand (ENZ) website(external link)

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website(external link)

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

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

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

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