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
Education providers wishing to enrol international students must become signatories to the Code of Practice.
Under the Code of Practice:
- signatories are required to achieve 10 outcomes, following prescribed processes.
- As the Code Administrator, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), has the power to take action against signatories who are found to be in breach of the code.
NZQA provides support to signatories(external link) to ensure they meet the required outcomes and processes as outlined in the Code of Practice.
2019 Amendments to the Code of Practice
Amendments to the 2016 Code of Practice were published in March 2019, with changes coming into effect on 1 July 2019.
Most of the changes are minor adjustments to make the Code clearer and more consistent. More significant changes include:
- new contract and disciplinary protections
- clarifying requirements for caregiver safety checks
- more detailed requirements for managing and monitoring education agents
- more practical transfer of care requirements for students under 18
Other changes cover definitions and process requirements for caregivers, accommodation, insurance, orientation and student support.
Information about the 2019 amendments to the Code of Practice
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.
FairWay Resolution Limited administers the DRS.
Further information about the DRS is available on the New Zealand Government's 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 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.
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
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.
We also provide approval for exchange programme organisations and school-to-school and tertiary provider exchange programmes.
For further information email:
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