Caring for International Students - The Code of Practice

When you come to New Zealand to study as an international student, education providers have a responsibility to ensure that you are well informed, safe and properly cared for.

In New Zealand we call this ‘pastoral care’. You are entitled to be treated well, at all ages and at all levels of education.

To support this, the New Zealand government has developed the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code).

The purpose of the Code

The Code describes the minimum standards of advice and care that you can expect as an international student. It provides a complaints procedure that you can follow if you have concerns about the pastoral treatment you have received from an education provider or from the agent of a provider. The Code does not apply to concerns about academic standards.

Only education providers who are signatories to the Code are allowed to enrol international students. NZQA maintains a register of all Signatories to the Code of Practice

How to get a copy of the Code

You can download a copy of the Code (PDF, 310KB).

You can also download a summary, which provides an overview of the Code (PDF, 129KB) and of the complaints procedure.

If you prefer, you can get a print copy of the Code from any education provider that enrols international students.

The Code and the summary are also available in these languages:

If you want to know more about the Code, email NZQA at

If something goes wrong

If you have concerns about the way you have been treated by your education provider or by an agent of your provider, your first step is to talk to someone at the institution where you are studying.

Talk to the principal, the international student director, or another person who is responsible for dealing with complaints. You need to go through your institution’s internal complaint process first.

If your concerns are not resolved through this process, then you can take your complaint to the International Education Appeal Authority (IEAA).

If your complaint is not resolved

The IEAA is the independent body that deals with complaints from international students about pastoral care. It investigates complaints and determines if there has been a breach of the Code. 

To complain to the IEAA, go to their pages on the Ministry of Justice website to download the complaint form and get further advice. See International Education Appeal Authority

The complaint form will ask you to explain why you believe your education provider has breached its obligations to you under the Code of Practice. To help you complete this part of the form, download a copy of the Code for reference (see above).

The IEAA will keep you informed of progress on your complaint.

Contact details for the IEAA

Tribunals Unit
Level 1, 86 Customhouse Quay
Private Bag 32001
Featherston Street
Wellington 6146

Phone + 64 4 462 6660
Fax + 64 4 462 6686

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