Overseas Trained

As in other countries experiencing the impact of the global economic recession, New Zealand has recently seen some significant changes to teacher supply and demand. The number of school teachers leaving the profession is at its lowest point for 10 years and so is the number of teaching vacancies, indicating that teachers are staying in their jobs longer.  This is reducing the number of positions available for teachers who are looking for work.

The majority of overseas teachers working in New Zealand schools have come from countries with strong language, cultural and educational similarities with New Zealand such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada and South Africa. As an overseas-trained teacher, you will need to be extremely competent in written and spoken English. As part of the application process for teacher registration, you may be required to prove your proficiency in the English language.

We’ve summarised the main teaching opportunities that exist currently in New Zealand schools and early childhood (ECE) services to help you with your decision-making. While we’ve emphasised the main opportunities which exist now, demand does fluctuate from year to year, so it can be challenging to find a job. We recommend you do your research before you decide to relocate.

Click here for the steps to take to help you find a teaching job in New Zealand.

Early childhood teachers (ECE)

  • Demand for teachers who are speakers of te reo Māori and Pasifika languages is high.
  • All overseas early childhood education teaching qualifications need to be assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to be equivalent to a Diploma of Teaching (ECE) or Bachelor of Teaching (ECE). 
  • Overseas-trained ECE teachers must be qualified to teach 0-5 years to obtain NZ equivalency and teacher registration. Many overseas applicants are qualified to teach in the 4-5 age range only. It is also important to note that vocational programmes in early childhood education (e.g. NNEB and Cache Certificate/Diploma programmes in the UK) are not comparable to the three-year academic degree level programmes that are required to be recognised early childhood educators in New Zealand. 
  • As there are new courses developed from time to time, it is critical that ECE teachers considering coming to New Zealand, have their qualifications assessed by NZQA.

Primary and Secondary teachers

  • In both primary and secondary, there is still a shortage of highly qualified teachers of te reo Māori along with Māori-medium teachers.
  • Overseas-trained teachers need to be aware that all branches of teaching have been removed from Immigration New Zealand’s skills shortage lists. While this does not make it impossible to win a job and gain a work visa, it does mean that before Immigration New Zealand will issue a work visa, a school has to show that it could not appoint a suitable New Zealand teacher.
  • Teachers under the age of 30 are advised to consider a working holiday visa which is more flexible. Details are available on the Immigration New Zealand website at www.immigration.govt.nz/workingholiday.

Special education teachers

  • For qualified, experienced teachers of children with learning or behavioural issues, and those working with children with physical disabilities, demand can vary greatly. For more information about careers and professional development in special education, visit the Special Education section of the Ministry of Education’s website

Other information

Please also refer to our information on Qualifications and RegistrationAllowances and Benefits and your Next Steps.

NZ Education Gazette vacancies

To view the latest vacancies, and search vacancies, visit www.edgazette.govt.nz.

Education resources

Ministry of Education: the Ministry of Education's website has a wealth of information on New Zealand's education system.

Te Kete Ipurangi: the online knowledge basket is New Zealand's bilingual education portal.  It provides information, resources, and curriculum materials to enhance teaching and learning, raise student achievement, and advance professional development for teaching staff and school managers.

Education Review Office: the ERO reviews all schools and early childhood services in New Zealand within a specified period and is a useful reference for New Zealand schools’ and services' performances.

Immigration resources

Immigration New Zealand: New Zealand's official immigration site (a service of the Department of Labour).

New Zealand Now: an additional Immigration New Zealand site containing practical, helpful visa and employment information and useful links.

New Zealand Teachers Council New Zealand Education Gazette New Zealand Qualifications Authority Immigration New Zealand