Qualifications & Occupational Registration


Will your credentials be acknowledged in New Zealand?


The New Zealand Qualification Framework

The framework used in New Zealand to categorise qualifications is known as the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF). This official ranking system ranges from 0 to 10 and is also utilised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to evaluate international qualifications. For instance, a diploma corresponds to level 5 or 6, while a bachelor's degree is categorised as level 7, and a master's degree as level 9, among others.

To determine whether your qualification is recognized in New Zealand for migration purposes, we cross-check it against a list of pre-approved international qualifications. If the name, institution, and year of granting match, you may be exempt from undergoing an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA), which can save you both time and money. However, if your qualification does not match, you may need to obtain a Pre-assessment Result (PAR) if you're only submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) or undergo a full IQA. The PAR provides a preliminary indication of equivalence level but is insufficient for a complete visa application. The cost of a full IQA is NZ$746, and the process can take up to seven weeks.

Professional bodies in New Zealand

In New Zealand, various industries such as legal, medical, education, trades, and engineering have a designated professional body. These bodies serve as representatives for their respective industries, and their roles may include advocating for industry-related issues, managing occupational registration for specific jobs, and, in some cases, acknowledging qualifications.

Compulsory vs Voluntary Occupational Registration in New Zealand

While some occupations offer optional registration, others require it for legal employment in New Zealand and/or to qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category. This process can be lengthy and may require the assistance of a licensed adviser. Each industry has specific requirements, and evidence of registration may need to be provided when submitting your visa application. Failure to follow the correct procedure may delay or compromise your migration plans.

However, in certain situations, you may be able to work without registration, depending on your sub-occupation, whether you work under the supervision of a registered professional or a company registration (referred to as an 'employer licence').

As of 27/02/2021, the occupations that require mandatory registration include:

  • Architect
  • Barrister
  • Barrister and solicitor
  • Cable jointer
  • Chiropractor
  • Clinical dental technician
  • Clinical dental therapist
  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental technician
  • Dental therapist
  • Dentist
  • Dietitian
  • Dispensing optician
  • Electrician
  • Electrical appliance serviceperson
  • Electrical engineer
  • Electrical inspector
  • Electrical installer
  • Electrical service technician
  • Financial adviser
  • Immigration adviser
  • Line mechanic
  • Medical laboratory scientist/technologist
  • Medical laboratory technician
  • Medical practitioner
  • Medical radiation technologist
  • Nurses and midwives
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Osteopath
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Plumber, gasfitter and drainlayer
  • Podiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Real estate agent
  • Social Worker
  • Cadastral (land title) surveyor
  • Teacher
  • Veterinarian