Recognition arrangements with other countries

New Zealand and other countries have formal arrangements in place that make it easier for qualifications to be recognised overseas.

Why we need qualification recognition arrangements

Because countries around the world do not approach education in the same way, qualifications in similar fields can be quite different depending on the country they were earned in.

So when people want to use their qualification in another country, immigration officials, employers and education providers need a way to understand how a qualification relates to qualifications in their own country.

There are several ways that international qualifications can be recognised:

  • Regional recognition agreements
  • Country-to-country recognition arrangements
  • Individual assessments.

What it means to recognise qualifications

'Qualifications recognition' or 'recognition of qualifications' is when a qualification gained in one country is accepted as comparable to a qualification gained in another country. This can be important for immigration, employment and for continuing education.

Recognition agreements or arrangements don't guarantee that a specific qualification will be accepted or recognised as equal by another country, but can help to ease the process.

Recognition can be for:

  • specific qualifications – for example, NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance
  • a qualification type – for example, Bachelor’s degrees
  • a group of qualifications – for example, higher education qualifications
  • parts of qualifications 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 into the other framework.

Individuals can also apply to have their qualification recognised by a country's credentialing agency. In New Zealand, the credentialing agency is NZQA.

How we assess international qualifications

New Zealand's recognition arrangements and agreements

New Zealand is part of two major qualification recognition agreements – the European 'Lisbon Convention' and the Asia-Pacific 'Tokyo Convention'.

International qualification recognition treaties

We also have a number of formal arrangements with countries or groups of countries. These arrangements can include Free Trade Agreements that include clauses about qualification recognition.

Qualification arrangements with individual countries

Contact us

For more information, or to give us feedback, email

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