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Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students


When students from other countries come to study in New Zealand, it is important that those students are well informed, safe, and properly cared for. New Zealand educational providers have an important responsibility for international students' welfare.

This information provides an overview of the 'Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students' (the Code), and provides a procedure that students can follow if they have concerns about their treatment by a New Zealand educational provider or agent of a provider.

Purpose of the Code

The purpose of this code is to support the Government's objectives for international education by:

  • Requiring signatories to take all reasonable steps to protect international students.
  • Ensuring, so far as is possible, that international students have a positive experience in New Zealand that supports their educational achievement. 

Who does the Code apply to?

The Code applies to all education providers in New Zealand with international students enrolled. The Code is mandatory to these providers and must be signed by them.

What is an 'international student'?

An 'international student' is a foreign student studying in New Zealand.

How can I get a copy of the Code?

You can request a copy of the Code from your New Zealand education provider. You can also download the code here.

How do I know if an education provider is a signatory to the Code?

NZQA maintains a register of all the education providers that the Code applies to. This is available online from the NZQA website. If the education provider that you wish to enrol with is not a signatory to the Code, you will not be granted a permit from Immigration New Zealand and you will not be able to study at that institution.

What do I do if something goes wrong?

If you have concerns about your treatment by your education provider or by an agent of the provider, the first thing you must do is contact the NSIA Student Services Officer, or another person who has been identified to you as someone that you can approach about complaints at your college.

The Code requires all education providers to have an internal complaints procedure in place that students will need to follow before their complaint can be taken any further. If you have a complaint about NSIA breaching the Code, you must follow our formal complaints procedure first.

If this does not resolve your complaint, you can contact the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) by phone on 0800 697 296 or email. If you have a financial or contractual dispute, you can contact FairWay Resolution by phone on 0800 77 44 22. More information is available on the FairWay Resolution website.

The Code sets standards for education providers to ensure that:

  • High professional standards are maintained.
  • The recruitment of international students is undertaken in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • Information supplied to international students is comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date.
  • Students are provided with information prior to entering into any commitments.
  • Contractual dealings with international students are conducted in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • The particular needs of international students are recognised.
  • International students are in safe accommodation.
  • All providers have fair and equitable internal procedures for the resolution of international student grievances.

NSIA has agreed to observe and be bound by the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. Copies of the Code are available from NZQA.

Full details of what is covered can be found in the Code itself.