Qualifications and occupational registration
Employers may need help understanding the qualifications you’ve gained overseas
They are used to the New Zealand ‘national qualifications framework’ which ranks qualifications from 0-10. A diploma is either 5 or 6, a bachelor’s degree is 7, a doctoral degree is 10 and so on. To determine whether an international qualification is comparable to a New Zealand qualification, it is also ranked using this framework.
Immigration New Zealand has a list of common international qualifications that have already been assessed against the framework and displays the level. If your qualification is on this list, it is exempt from assessment.
If your particular qualification isn’t listed, you may need to get it assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).
You can start to get an understanding of the New Zealand system at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) website.
Qualifications for a visa
The qualifications on Immigration New Zealand’s list of ‘Qualifications Exempt from Assessment’ are pre-approved for immigration purposes. So they’re valid if you’re claiming points in a Skilled Migrant visa application, or if you’re applying for a work visa on the basis that your occupation is on a skill shortage list and a New Zealand qualification equivalent is mentioned as a requirement.
If your qualification is not listed then you might need to apply to NZQA for an International Qualifications Assessment to submit with your visa application.
If you are submitting an ‘Expression of interest’ then a pre-assessment Result (PAR) is an option. This costs less but isn’t sufficient for a full application.
Qualifications for employment
If you want to work in New Zealand it may be useful to have your qualifications assessed by NZQA.
There’s a fee of around $750 for a standard application. The process takes up to 35 working days to complete once all documents have been received so make sure you allow enough time.
If your industry has a professional body in New Zealand it may be able to advise you whether you’ll need your qualifications assessed or translated. In some cases, industry bodies have negotiated reciprocal recognition of overseas qualifications.
For more about qualifications and finding work in New Zealand visit Careers NZ.
A number of jobs in New Zealand require some form of official registration. Immigration New Zealand has a list of the jobs that are affected.
If you are going to need registration, you should start the process as soon as possible. You’ll need to contact the appropriate registration authority to see if you meet their requirements then submit a registration application.
You may need to provide evidence of your occupational registration when you submit your visa application if:
- you’re applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category and planning to work in an occupation where registration is required, or
- you are including a job offer in a work visa application and occupational registration is a requirement.
If you are applying for a visa as the partner of a worker or New Zealand resident it is a good idea to submit your registration paperwork before you move to New Zealand.