Pastoral care for international students Code of Practice

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.

The "Education (Pastoral Care for International Students) Code of Practice 2016" (The Code) is a document that provides a framework for services delivered, by educational providers and their agents, to International Students.

An 'International Student' is defined as a foreign student studying in New Zealand.

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

The Code ensures 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 (or in the case of under 18 year olds, their parents/guardian) are provided with all the information they need 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 and supported
  • International students are in safe accommodation
  • All providers have fair and equitable internal procedures for the resolution of International Student grievances

Education providers and the Code

The Code applies to all education providers in New Zealand with enrolled International Students. The Code is mandatory to these providers and must be signed by them. Signatories to the Code undertake an annual self-review of their processes and procedures relating to the Code and attest to the compliance with the Code to the Code Administrator.

Download a copy of the Code

You can download a printable version of the Code of Practice, including amendments from 2019, on the NZQA website.

The full, legislative version is also available on the New Zealand Legislation website.

The Code and the grievance process

If you have concerns about how your education provider has treated you, or how the agent of the education provider has treated you, you must first contact the Director International, or another person who has been identified to you as someone that you can approach about complaints at your institution. The Code requires all institutions to have fair and equitable internal grievances procedures for students and you need to go through these internal processes before you can take the complaint any further. View Massey University's Grievance Procedures.

If your concerns are not resolved by the internal grievances procedures, you can contact the Code Administrator (NZQA) or the agency contracted to manage student complaints on their behalf. The agency appointed to manage student complaints is an independent body who manage complaints from international students about the pastoral care aspects of advice and services received from their education provider or the provider's agents. They have the power to recommend sanctions on education providers who have committed a breach of The Code that is not a serious breach.

The agency will refer complaints that are not about pastoral care to another regulatory body if appropriate.  The education provider will be given a reasonable time to remedy the breach. If the breach is not remedied within the stipulated timeframe the agency will refer the complaint to the Code Administrator for further action. The agency provides annual reports to the Code Administrator on its activities.

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