Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students

EIT has agreed to observe and be bound by the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International students published by the NZQA.


When students from other countries come to study in New Zealand, it is important that those students are well informed, safe, and provided with proper care.

New Zealand educational providers have an important responsibility for the welfare of international students.

The following 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.

What is the Code?

The Code is a document which provides a framework for service delivery by educational providers and their agents to international students. The Code sets out the minimum standards of advice and care that are expected of educational providers with respect to international students. The Code applies to pastoral care and provision of information only, and not to academic standards.

Who does the Code apply to?

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

Please note that the Code of Practice was recently updated. The previous Code of Practice applies to students enrolled prior to 1 July 2016 and will remain in place for those students until 31 December 2016.

What is an ‘international student’?

An ‘international student’ is a foreign student studying in New Zealand on a student visa issued by Immigration New Zealand.

How can I get a copy of the Code?

You can download a copy of the Code here.

How do I know if an educational provider has signed the Code?

NZQA will maintain a register of all signatories to the Code.  This list is available here.  If the educational provider that you are seeking to enrol with is not a signatory to the Code, you will not be granted a permit from the New Zealand Immigration Service and you will not be able to study at that institution.

What do I do if something goes wrong?

If you are a student, and your concerns are related to your course or experiences at the organisation, it’s very important that you give the organisation the opportunity to respond to your concerns. You may do this informally in the first instance (for example, discussing an academic issue with your tutor), but use your organisation’s formal complaints procedure if that is not successful.

All education organisations must have processes for receiving and responding to student complaints, and for appealing academic results. These must be easily accessible to students, and organisations are required to be fair in implementing them.

Check your ‘Student Orientation Pack’ for the complaint procedure. If it’s not there, ask the staff for a copy. Follow the complaint procedure carefully. It is recommended that you put your concerns in writing, and it’s reasonable to expect a written response from the organisation explaining the outcome.

The organisation may offer an opportunity for you to meet with them to discuss the situation. This is often a helpful way to work through a problem, and you should be able to take someone with you for support if you wish to do so.

Students must make a genuine effort to resolve their concerns by following the organisation’s formal complaint process, before making a formal complaint to NZQA.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the organisation’s formal complaint process and wish to raise your concerns, you may do so through NZQA or iStudent Complaints.  Complaints about breaches of the Code of Practice should be submitted directly to NZQA.  Complaints about contractual and financial disputes between you and the organisation can be submitted to iStudent Complaints. 

To make a complaint through NZQA, go to  For complaints through iStudent Complaints, go to

A summary of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students

The Code sets standards for educational 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 under the age of 18 are in safe accommodation
  • all providers have fair and equitable internal procedures for the resolution of international student grievances

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