Outlined in this section are the steps you will need to complete to take up a teaching job in New Zealand.
To avoid frustration, complete everything before you leave home, and bring your original documents, and several certified copies with you. There will be times when New Zealand authorities will need to see the originals.
It’s also particularly important to obtain a Police clearance before you leave. Simply go into your local police station, ask for a Police clearance, and they’ll hopefully be able to issue it within a couple of weeks. If you leave it until you arrive in New Zealand, you may experience considerable delays.
There are four steps that overseas teachers must complete if they wish to teach in New Zealand. We suggest you carry out the steps in this order to make your move to New Zealand easier.
Step 1: Have your qualifications assessed
- Your qualifications must be assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority for the purposes of teacher registration and starting salary.
- This process involves producing evidence of having a teacher education qualification in the form of a degree or diploma. You will need to provide originals of all documentation to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). This includes providing original transcripts for the full length of your relevant qualification. These things take some time to complete and there is a cost involved. Check NZQA's website for more details.
- An NZQA statement is also required to ensure that primary and secondary teachers receive the correct salary. When you start teaching in a primary or secondary school you will be paid as an untrained teacher if the NZQA statement is not available (although you will be back-paid when it comes through).
- For the salary assessment, you also need to provide a Statement of Service of all your teaching service. You will need to provide the originals of all your Statement of Service documents, not copies. This is much easier to organise before you leave rather than sending back to your home country for documents. The Statement of Service documents must be on letterhead from the school or teaching authority and be signed by a person of authority. They need to include a start and finish date and either that you were employed in a full-time position or, if part time, the number of hours you worked per week. It is also good practice for you to keep certified copies of all original documents you send in.
Step 2: Register with The Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
Register with the Education Council (Steps 1 & 2 may be started at the same time)
- All teachers at primary and secondary level, and at supervisor level in early childhood services in New Zealand, must be registered with the Education Council before beginning teaching employment in New Zealand. You will need to provide them with your NZQA assessment report and other documentation. Overseas teachers who are registered will get either of two categories: provisional or subject to confirmation. To be eligible for subject to confirmation you need to supply evidence of at least two years of supervised teaching, holding a senior position, and satisfactory appraisal material. To be recommended for full registration, you need to have completed at least three months of supervised teaching service in New Zealand, and submit a TC2 form. Application forms and information on registration are available on the Education Council's website.
- Teachers with overseas qualifications need to supply evidence of their English language proficiency. If English is your first spoken language you will need to provide evidence of that. The Education Council website explains what you will need to provide. If English is an additional language you need to have passed an approved language proficiency test within the last two years. There are a number of tests recognised by the Education Council. Please refer to the Education Council’s ‘Language requirements for overseas teachers’ for more information.
Step 3: Apply for a job
Apply for a job
- New Zealand schools are responsible for employing their own staff. There is no central staffing agency and no government department responsible for staff placement. All applications should be made to the employing school. In early childhood services, teachers are employed by the licensee or owner of the service.
- Once registration is completed teachers can apply for any teaching position in New Zealand. All vacancies are advertised in the official New Zealand Education Gazette publication. You can also view the latest vacancies online at the Education Gazette website. There is a search engine which makes it possible to search by subject and geographic region (and you can subscribe to be notified of vacancies meeting your criteria).
- Applicants can also choose to work through a specialist teacher recruitment agent. They will help you with the assessment, registration, immigration and application processes. Their services should be free as they are paid by schools using them to help fill vacancies.
Step 4: Obtain a work visa
Obtain a work visa (does not apply to Australian citizens or permanent residents)
- The final step is to obtain a work visa from Immigration New Zealand.
Immigration New Zealand's website can provide information on other options such as:
- work to residency
- working holiday visas
Note 1: Work visas for more than 12 months and residency applications will require medical information in support of the application. More stringent conditions apply to applicants coming from high-risk TB areas. Details can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Note 2: A new police clearance will be required if the clearance submitted to both Immigration NZ and the Education Council is now more than 6 months old.
Note 3: A work visa will not be issued unless a job offer has been received and “employer supplementary form NZIS 1113” included with the application form.
If there's something else you'd like to know, or need help with, you're welcome to email TeachNZ.