Our role in international education

One of NZQA’s responsibilities is to improve the international recognition, understanding and portability of New Zealand qualifications overseas.

The contexts of our international work

We help maintain and build on New Zealand’s reputation as a high-quality education provider, and increase the portability of qualifications gained here. This makes New Zealand a more attractive place for students to come and study.

The New Zealand export education industry is worth more than NZ$5.1 billion. This market is an important growth area of the New Zealand economy. Our international programme of work supports this growth.

We work closely with other government agencies such as Education New Zealand (ENZ), the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and they support us in our work.


  • provide support, as required, for trade negotiations involving qualification recognition
  • implement the qualifications recognition commitments in signed free trade agreements
  • provide advice and support to Pacific Island nations, to help them develop their qualifications frameworks
  • improve understanding and recognition of qualifications in other countries.

Our place in a global world

Our qualifications framework (NZQF) is world-leading. New Zealand was one of the first five countries in the world to develop a framework, in the 1990s.

We work closely with countries around the world to increase its comparability with the qualifications frameworks of our key immigration partner countries, and to support recognition of qualifications in these partner countries.

In a growing global labour market, qualifications that are more portable between countries are increasingly important.

How our referencing and recognition projects affect you

The results of our projects help:

  • NZQA to make decisions on individual qualifications recognition
  • educational institutions to make enrolment decisions
  • employers to make employment decisions
  • New Zealanders travelling overseas to have their qualifications recognised
  • international students studying here then returning overseas to have their qualifications recognised
  • educational institutions to have their qualifications more easily recognised overseas.

Improving qualifications recognition: Agreements and arrangements with other countries

New Zealand has, and is working towards, formal agreements and arrangements with other countries and groups of countries.

Agreements – joining already-established Conventions and Treaties, agreeing to be bound by existing commitments

Arrangements – individually negotiated, detailed procedure has been worked out between NZQA and its counterpart agencies  

See General qualification recognition agreements to read more about our agreements.

See Country-specific qualification recognition arrangements to read more about our arrangements.

Recognising qualifications

‘Qualifications recognition’ or ‘recognition of qualifications’ is when a country accepts a qualification gained overseas as comparable to a qualification gained in their own country. They are officially recognised for purposes such as employment or admittance to further education.

Recognition can be for:

  • specific qualifications (for example, NCEA - for details of NCEA recognition, see International recognition of NCEA)
  • a qualification type (for example, Bachelor’s degrees in Malaysia)
  • a group of qualifications (for example, higher education qualifications in China)
  • parts of frameworks, whole frameworks, and regional frameworks. This kind of recognition is known as 'referencing' which means closely comparing frameworks to determine where a qualification from one framework would fit in the other framework. New Zealand has completed referencing the NZQF to frameworks in Australia, the European Union, Hong Kong and the Republic of Ireland.

For more about our projects in both qualification recognition and framework referencing, see the General recognition agreements and Country-specific recognition arrangements pages.

National Education Information Centre (NEIC)

NZQA has been designated by the EU as New Zealand’s National Education Information Centre.

NEIC provides information and advice on the New Zealand education system, overseas education systems, New Zealand qualifications, and recognition of overseas qualifications.

This is part of our commitment to the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

Click to read more about the National Education Information Centre.

Contact us

If you wish to have your qualifications assessed by NZQA, please see NZQA's Recognition of Overseas Qualifications page.

For more information, or to give us feedback, please email us at:

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