European Union

New Zealand and the European Union (EU) have completed a joint project to make it easier for New Zealand and EU qualification holders to move between countries.

European Union flagThe New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and the European Commission have published the Comparative Analysis of the European Qualifications Framework and the New Zealand Qualifications Framework: Joint Technical Report. (PDF, 1.7MB)

New Zealand is at the forefront of countries that the EU has chosen to work with outside of Europe in comparing qualifications frameworks. The joint project was carried out using principles that were adapted from the criteria and procedures used for referencing EU national qualifications framework levels to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

The report is also available for download on the European Commission's website.

Matching the levels of the EQF and the NZQF

NZQF EQF level comparison summary diagram thA key outcome of the joint project was to match the levels of NZQF and EQF.

This diagram shows a summary of how the levels of the NZQF and EQF match to each other. (page 5 in the report).

The diagram also sets out the qualification types listed at each level of the NZQF alongside examples of qualification types listed on EU national qualifications frameworks that are referenced to the EQF.


  • It was agreed that NZQF level 8 would remain unlevelled to the EQF.
  • There is no NZQF level that compares to EQF level 1.

The EQF is a regional framework

The EQF is a regional common reference framework, intended to improve the transparency, comparability and portability of qualifications in Europe.

The EQF provides a link between national qualifications frameworks within the EU and several other European countries, in total 32 countries.

European national qualifications frameworks are currently being ‘referenced’ to the EQF. Referencing in the EQF is a process that results in the establishment of a formal relationship between the levels of European national qualifications frameworks and the levels of the EQF. As a meta-framework, the EQF does not contain qualifications itself, but the European national qualifications that are referenced to it do.

For countries that have completed the referencing process, the EQF acts as a central reference point through which the comparability of levels of EU national qualifications frameworks—and the qualifications on them—can be better understood.

Comparisons of national qualifications frameworks referenced to the EQF are available on the European Commission EQF portal.

Why we’ve compared our qualifications frameworks

This report raises the profile of NZQF qualifications in Europe and makes it easier to compare them to EU qualifications. This will support transparent and consistent recognition decisions by education providers and employers in New Zealand and amongst European Union Member States. Ultimately this will make it easier for people who hold New Zealand qualifications and people who hold qualifications from EU countries to have their qualifications recognised for working and studying in each other’s countries.

While the outcomes of the comparability process do not entitle any holder of a European or New Zealand qualification to claim automatic recognition of their qualifications, the report provides clear information to support qualifications recognition decisions.

New Zealand’s international obligations in Europe

This work complements New Zealand’s obligations as a signatory to both these conventions:

  • the European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas Leading to Admission to Universities 1953
  • the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region 1997 (the ‘Lisbon Recognition Convention’).

For more information about these, please see General qualification recognition arrangements.

More about the NZQF and the EQF

For more information, see:
New Zealand Qualifications Framework,
European Qualifications Framework,
Lisbon Recognition Convention.

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

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