Frequently asked questions about the 2016 Code of Practice

Following consultation with the sector in 2017-8, a revised Code of Practice was gazetted on 28 March 2019. For more information on the changes, please see the Ministry of Education website.

What is self-review attestation and when do I have to do it?

Self-review is a requirement under the 2016 Code of Practice. Signatories need to review their pastoral care practices and procedures to see if they meet the outcomes of the Code of Practice.

Signatories should keep a record of this review to show what they did and any adjustments they made as a result.

After a signatory has completed this self-review, they need to submit an online attestation to NZQA. This indicates the process has been completed.

Each year, NZQA will notify signatories of the date they must submit their self-attestations by.

Are there resources to help me meet the outcomes of the 2016 Code of Practice?

Yes. NZQA, with sector input, has developed a Code of Practice toolbox. The material is supplied as examples only, and NZQA encourages signatories to adapt the material to fit their situation and needs.

This toolbox will develop over time, reflecting the material submitted by the sector.

You can contribute to the toolbox by sending relevant materials to NZQA will check that the material meets quality criteria before publishing it.

Who do the changes apply to?

The changes apply to all Code of Practice signatories.

Do I need to re-apply for Code of Practice signatory status?

No, your signatory status will continue under the 2016 Code of Practice.

What do I need to do to ensure that I am compliant with the 2016 Code of Practice?

The 2016 Code of Practice contains both outcomes sought for international students and key processes to support their well-being, achievement and rights.

Signatories must achieve the required outcomes and comply with the key processes.

Please note that the Code of Practice outlines key processes that are the minimum requirements. Signatories may need to establish their own additional processes that suit their circumstances, in order to achieve the outcomes sought.

As a first step, you must familiarise yourself with the Code of Practice. You should then ensure that your policies and procedures are updated accordingly and that you abide by the Code of Practice.

Do I need to re-write all my policies and procedures for the 2016 Code of Practice?

No, you do not. However, you do need to review your current policies and procedures to ensure that you comply with the requirements of the 2016 Code of Practice.

What information do I need to give students?

The 2016 Code of Practice applies to all international students. You will need to ensure that your organisation's practices comply with the 2016 Code of Practice e.g.:

  • international students having the required insurance
  • Offer of Place
  • enrolment arrangements
  • student contracts.

It is recommended that you seek legal advice based on your specific circumstances.

For Immigration New Zealand (INZ) requirements, please refer to INZ advice.

Your annual self-review of your current policies and procedures may identify more information that you need to give those students.

What should I advise students to do if they have a complaint about the Code of Practice?

NZQA suggests that you update the complaint process information you give to students by removing references to the IEAA and inserting the following:

If you have a complaint about <name of provider/school> breaching the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016, follow <name of provider's/school’s> formal complaint process first.

If this does not resolve your complaint, you can contact the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) by phone on 0800 697 296 or email

Or, if it is a financial or contractual dispute, you can contact iStudent Complaints by phone on 0800 00 66 75. More information is available on the iStudent Complaints website:

NZQA has produced a brochure for international students about the complaints process (PDF, 120KB). It is recommended that you distribute this brochure to your students.

Where can I find the Code of Practice?

There is a printable pdf version of the Code of Practice (PDF, 736KB).

The full, legislative Code of Practice is also available on the New Zealand legislation website.

Are there any guidelines for the Code of Practice to assist me in implementing it?

Yes, NZQA has published guidelines (PDF, 915KB) specific to the 2019 amendments to the 2016 Code of Practice.

Will I receive a pack of supporting documents for the Code of Practice?

No, all relevant supporting information is available on the NZQA website as specified above. You can download or print the material.

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