General qualification recognition agreements

New Zealand has signed agreements with groups of European and Asia-Pacific countries, committing to recognising each other’s qualifications.

These agreements are legal frameworks created to make it easier and more efficient for countries to understand and recognise (give credit for) each other’s higher education qualifications and periods of study. They are multilateral, meaning they are agreements involving more than two countries.

Agreements include the Lisbon Recognition Convention with Europe, and the Asia-Pacific Regional Convention (APRC) with Asia-Pacific countries.

European Conventions

New Zealand has acceded to (signed) two Conventions with Europe. These Conventions require all signatory countries to recognise each other’s qualifications.

The Lisbon Recognition Convention

The Lisbon Recognition Convention covers tertiary (higher education) qualifications.

Its full name is ‘the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region 1997.’

You can read more about our obligations under the Lisbon Convention on the ‘National Education Information Centre’ page, in the links to the left.

Admission to universities

The European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas Leading to Admission to Universities 1953 covers university entrance qualifications (see Article 1.1).

Click to read more about our work with the European Union.

Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education

New Zealand is a signatory to the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education, which am into force on 1 February 2018.

The Convention provides a multilateral legal framework to improve international recognition of higher education qualifications and periods of study within the Asia-Pacific region.

The aim of the Convention is to facilitate greater mobility of students, academic staff and workers from the Asia-Pacific region and improve the understanding and recognition of New Zealand qualifications internationally, and make it easier for skilled migrants from the region to work and study here.

New Zealand’s other arrangements

New Zealand also has, or is working towards, its own arrangements with individual countries or with groups of countries.

For example, we have free trade agreements with Australia, China, Malaysia and ASEAN. And our work referencing our qualifications framework with Europe’s qualifications framework fits with our obligations under both the European conventions mentioned above.

You can read more about these projects under Country-specific qualification recognition arrangements.

Contact us

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

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