International qualifications

IMPORTANT: Read the instructions for the IQA very carefully. Our rules for sending original documents have changed.

Looking to live, work or study in New Zealand? You may need to have your international qualification assessed by Qualifications Recognition Services (QRS) to see how it aligns with the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). Often this means completing the International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) or doing a less involved assessment called the Pre-assessment Result (PAR). We can help you with that process here.

The other assessment you can apply for in this section is the Overseas Study Assessment (OSA). This is for people – usually New Zealand residents – who've completed or will be completing a programme of study overseas, and would like to apply to Inland Revenue (IRD) to have the interest written off their New Zealand student loan for the duration of their overseas study.

Contact QRS at or +64 (4) 463 3000 (Freephone in NZ: 0800 697 296)

Read about the QRS Principles and Policies (PDF, 349KB) 

Learn more about the NZQF

What is a qualification?

A qualification is a complete programme of learning that is offered by an accredited education provider. The provider must have been accredited or recognised the country in which it was awarded at the time of study or time of award. A qualification is a minimum of (approximately) one full-time semester of study.

Accredited education providers and/or qualifications are those that are recognised by a government or government-mandated authority in the country/countries in which the qualification was studied and awarded, at the time of study or time of award.

When do you need your qualifications assessed?


You may need your qualifications assessed for visa purposes when you're planning to migrate to New Zealand, such as when applying for the Skilled Migrant visa. The assessment you do with us will be part of a wider immigration process through Immigration NZ.

What assessment do you need to do?

What's an Expression of Interest?

The Expression of Interest is the first stage of an application towards a Skilled Migrant visa – and is submitted through Immigration NZ. It contributes to your eligibility for a visa. A part of the Expression of Interest involves looking at your international qualifications. When your qualification isn't on the Immigration NZ list, you may need to apply for a PAR, which is where we come in.

Once your Expression of Interest has been accepted – whether you were required to do a PAR or not – you can go on to do the IQA application. However please check with Immigration NZ before you apply for the full IQA, as it's not necessary in every case.

Employment/Occupational Registration

If your New Zealand employer needs further explanation of your international qualification. NZQA only assesses qualifications, not work experience.

Read more about What assessment do you need to do?, or explore qualifications in professional fields


When you need to know if your international qualification meets the entry requirements for admission into a New Zealand education programme.

Please note: If this is the only reason you're applying to have your international qualification assessed by us, please check with your intended New Zealand education provider first to see if they require an IQA from NZQA for admission.

What assessment do you need to do?

Teacher registration

When you hold a school teacher qualification gained outside of New Zealand (and you want to teach in New Zealand, so you require being registered as a school teacher here).  We need to know about your initial teacher training to be able to complete your application.

Please note: This doesn't apply if you intend to be an English language teacher or tertiary teacher (e.g. a lecturer at a university).

Read more about overseas teachers in New Zealand with the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Read more about teaching in New Zealand.

Download the Teaching Practicum form (DOC, 54KB)

Teacher salary review

If you intend to work or you already work as a school teacher in New Zealand, and need your international qualifications recognised in order to help determine your salary. This includes the review of tertiary qualifications you may have outside of your teaching qualifications.

What assessment do you need to do?

Silver Fern Job Search Work visa

This visa is for highly skilled young people who want to live and work in New Zealand long-term. It is open in November each year by Immigration New Zealand and is by invitation only. To apply under for the IQA Silver Fern Visa, you must provide evidence of your invitation to apply from Immigration New Zealand. Please contact Immigration New Zealand if you have any queries about this visa type.

Read more about the Silver Fern visa

What assessment do you need to do?

First, have you checked Immigration NZ's list of exempt qualifications? If your qualification is on this list, you may not need to have your qualification assessed by us – be it with a PAR or an IQA (this is not relevant for the OSA).

If your qualification is on this list, contact Immigration New Zealand to confirm that your qualification does not need further assessment. 

Check the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment.

Pre-Assessment Result (PAR)

A PAR may be a part of your process when immigrating to New Zealand. When you begin the process with Immigration NZ by doing an Expression of Interest, you may be asked to get a PAR first before you can submit your Expression of Interest. The PAR is a preliminary assessment based on what you tell us about your qualification, and as such is just an indication of where your qualification is likely to fit within the New Zealand context. Some people may skip the PAR and do the more thorough IQA assessment, which will tell you how your qualification compares to the NZQF.

Read more about the PAR

International Qualifications Assessment (IQA)

An IQA is a more in-depth assessment than a PAR. If you're looking to immigrate to New Zealand, the IQA is for those who are in the next stage of the process – once you've received an Invitation to Apply from Immigration NZ. You may also need the IQA for reasons other than immigration, such as for teacher registration in New Zealand.

When you apply for the IQA you'll need to provide evidence of your original qualification documents - unlike the PAR, which doesn't always require supporting documents. After an IQA you'll receive a Recognition Statement about where your qualification fits in the New Zealand context, ready to show to whoever needs it - be it Immigration NZ, your professional or industry registration body, or your employer.

Read more about the IQA

Overseas Study Assessment (OSA)

The OSA is for people - usually NZ residents - who have completed or who intend to complete study overseas and want to apply to Inland Revenue NZ (IRD) to have the interest written off their NZ student loan while they're studying. 

Read more about the OSA

Is doing an assessment of my qualification all I need to do?

Having your international qualification assessed by us is just one part of the wider process you may need to undertake. You may also need to complete other forms and assessments with Immigration NZ, register with your professional or industry body in New Zealand, and/or complete further assessment with them - particularly if you're in a professional field such as engineering, medicine, law or teaching.

By having your qualification assessed, you're provided with a "translation" of your international qualification - to understand how it compares to levels on the NZQF. The report can be taken to Immigration NZ and/or other New Zealand professional or industry bodies for them to use in order to do further assessments, tests, or licencing procedures as you need them. For example, you may need further assessment from the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) or the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Read more about professional qualifications

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