Teachers can come to New Zealand17 Sep 2021

New Zealand’s Education Minister Chris Hipkins recently announced that 300 overseas qualified teachers, from early childhood education to secondary level, will be able to come to work in New Zealand under a new class of border exception.

The teachers must meet one of the following criteria:
i. Have an offer of employment in a Decile 1, 2 or 3 New Zealand State or State-integrated school; or
ii. Have an offer of employment in any “hard to staff” State or State-integrated school; or
iii. Have an offer of employment for a science, technology, engineering or mathematics position; or
iv. Are teachers that were already employed as teachers in New Zealand but who left New Zealand and have been unable to return to their positions due to border closure; or
v. Have an offer of employment as a certificated ECE teacher employed in a low decile service.

In addition, a separate family reunification border exception has now been implemented for the partners and dependent children of teachers who are already in New Zealand on temporary visas.

New Zealand Teaching Registration Process for Overseas Trained Teachers

Overseas teachers must first gain New Zealand teacher registration and a practicing certificate to teach in New Zealand. There are three pathways to achieve this:

If you already hold a teaching qualification (except Early Childhood Education), you need to check whether it is on the NZQA pre-approved overseas teaching qualification list using this tool. If the qualification is not on this list, you will need to apply for an International Qualification Assessment (IQA) with Teaching Assessment Add-on option with New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA).

Early Child Education (ECE) qualifications are not covered by the list of pre-approved overseas teaching qualifications. If you intend to work in the early learning sector (0-6 years), you will need an IQA with a Teaching Assessment Add-on that suitable compares your ECE qualification with the core knowledge requirements of a New Zealand ECE or primary teacher education programme. If you hold a primary teaching qualification but intend to work in the early learning sector, you will also require the same IQA assessment. You can use this flow chart to assess your situation.

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (Australia and New Zealand)
If you are registered and hold Provisional or Full teacher registration in one of the approved Australian registration bodies, you may be eligible for a practising certificate under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA) 1997.

Discretionary Pathway
If the NZQA assessment report of your qualification(s) is at level 7 or above, but do not meet the core knowledge requirements of a New Zealand Initial Teacher Education qualification, you may still be able to apply via the discretionary pathway. The discretionary pathway considers qualifications, teaching experience, appraisal material and professional development as a package to determine whether you can be granted registration as an exception to normal policy.

In addition, you also need to meet English language competency requirements and provide a clear overseas police clearance.

Should you achieve teaching registration and obtain a suitable full-time teaching position which meets the criteria detailed you can then contact the Pathways team to start the border exemption and subsequent visa application process. Your partner and/or dependent children are also able to apply alongside you for the exemption and visas so the family can travel to New Zealand together.

Challenges of getting MIQ place
After having jumped through all the hurdles to obtain your visa you still need to book and secure a Management Isolation quarantine (MIQ) space.

If you are an overseas qualified and trained teacher and wish to work and live in New Zealand, please feel free to contact us so we can provide our guidance on your journey. Talk to one of Pathways licensed immigration adviser.