What qualifications are needed to work in New Zealand?


The most important qualification for a job in New Zealand is a good level of spoken and written English.

With regard to more formal qualifications, it’s a condition of employment for most jobs in New Zealand that overseas qualifications must compare with New Zealand’s standards and be accepted by local employers. An organisation called The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) assesses foreign qualifications to determine whether they meet New Zealand standards. Information and forms are available from the New Zealand Immigration Service or direct from NZQA, PO Box 160, Wellington (https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/). 


For certain jobs you must be registered with the appropriate New Zealand professional organisation. The registration process includes an assessment of your professional or trade qualifications and leads to membership of the appropriate body, thus allowing you to work in New Zealand.

If your trade or profession is one where registration is required, you should contact the relevant body well in advance as you may need to take an examination or undergo a period of retraining, for which you must pay. In some cases examinations can be taken in other countries, although they may be held on one or two days a year only. Since January 1996, it has been necessary to obtain registration (where applicable) before applying for permanent residence.

Occupations where registration is required and the relevant bodies with which registrations must be made are listed below. (Note that occupations are continually being added to the list, so you should check before applying for residence.)

  •  Architects: Architects Education and Registration Board, PO Box 11-106, Wellington (Tel. 04-801 8972, www.aerb.org.nz ).
  •  Barristers and Solicitors: New Zealand Law Society, PO Box 5041, Wellington (Tel. 04-472 7837, Law Society ).
  •  Dentists: Dental Council of New Zealand, PO Box 10-448, Wellington (Tel. 04-499 4820, www.dentalcouncil.org.nz ).
  •  Electricians and Line Mechanics: Electrical Workers Registration Board, PO Box 10-156, Wellington (Tel. 04-472 3636, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ).
  •  Engineers: Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), PO Box 12-241, Wellington (Tel. 04-473 9444, www.ipenz.org.nz ).
  •  Estate Agents: Real Estate Agents Licensing Board, PO Box 1247, Wellington (Tel. 04-520 6949).
  •  Medical Practitioners: Medical Council of New Zealand, PO Box 11-649, Wellington (Tel. 04-384 7635, www.mcnz.org.nz ).
  •  Midwives and Nurses: Nursing Council of New Zealand, PO Box 9644, Wellington (Tel. 04-802 0247, www.nursingcouncil.org.nz ).
  •  Pharmacists: Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, PO Box 11-640, Wellington (Tel. 04-802 0030, www.psnz.org.nz ).
  •  Physiotherapists: The Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand, PO Box 10-734, Wellington (Tel. 04-471 2610, www.physioboard.org.nz ).
  •  Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers: Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, PO Box 10-655, Wellington (Tel. 04-494 2970, www.pgdb.co.nz ).
  •  Surveyors: Cadastral Surveyors Licensing Board of New Zealand, PO Box 12-241, Wellington (Tel. 04-473 2020, www.cslb.org.nz ).
  •  Teachers (in primary and secondary schools and free kindergartens): Teachers Registration Board, Private Bag 1666, Wellington (Tel. 04-471 0852, www.trb.govt.nz ).
  •  Veterinarians: Veterinary Council of New Zealand, PO Box 10-563, Wellington (Tel. 04-473 9600, www.vetcouncil.org.nz ).
  •  Chiropractors, Dieticians, Dispensing Opticians, Medical Laboratory Technologists, Medical Radiation Technologists, Occupational Therapists, Optometrists, Podiatrists and Psychologists (if employed in state services or a licensed institution): Registration Boards Secretariat, PO Box 10-140, Wellington (Tel. 04-499 7979).

Degrees attained from universities in most western countries are considered equivalent to degrees from New Zealand universities and most school qualifications are recognised by employers and university admissions staff.

Further reading

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