Providers and signatories

The information on this page is for education providers who have obligations under the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 (the Code). The Code applies from 1 January 2022.

Learners can use the following links for more information about the Code:

Know the Code - tertiary learners

Know the Code - learner videos  

Pastoral care over breaks

Due to Covid-19, many international students may remain in New Zealand over term breaks, with increased pastoral care needs.

Find information and advice for providers on the Ministry of Education's website

Changes to your requirements under the Code

For schools, there are no new Code requirements for schools in New Zealand that enrol international students. However, requirements for schools have different outcome and clause numbers in the new Code. (PDF, 183KB)

See the differences in the Code to Code Tool for School Signatories (PDF, 183KB)

For tertiary education providers, the new Code has retained some of the same, or similar, requirements from the previous international Code.

See the differences in the Code to Code Tool for Tertiary Signatories (PDF, 167KB)

Dealing with a critical incident

Please make sure you follow the critical incident plan.

Download the template for the critical incident response plan (DOCX, 56KB)

In the case of a critical incident, providers should check the Code and guidelines (see below) to ensure your organisation is taking the actions you need to. The most relevant parts of the Code in an incident are typically:


2021 Code (from 1 Jan)

See the 2021 Code Guidelines (PDF, 1.1MB)


2021 Code (from 1 Jan)

See the 2021 Code Guidance (PDF, 1.5MB)


See relevant guidelines for future advice.


Clause 75(1)a

Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 18


Outcome 4 and related clauses

Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 4

 Appropriate measures to address student needs and issues: you need to ensure adequate support for the wellbeing of students.

Outcome 15 and related clauses

Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 15

Outcome 10 and related clauses

Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 4

Enrolment contract: what have you agreed with students (and where relevant, their parents) to do in a critical incident? Use the international student enrolment contract as your guide.

Clause 65


Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 15

Clause 44


Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 10

Insurance: students should have appropriate insurance in place and their policy may cover some necessary support, such as mental health support, and must cover next of kin coming to NZ to support the student, and repatriation costs. Contact your student’s insurance provider as a source of guidance and support.

Clause 73.1.c and 73.1.d

Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 18

Clause 50.1.b


Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 12

Effective communication with parents and next of kin: ensure that you have a communications plan in place to easily and timely communication with parents/legal guardians

Clause 66


Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 15

Outcome 10 and related clauses

Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 10

Written permission from parents regarding any decisions affecting students aged under 18: for any decisions affecting students, please ensure that parents/legal guardians are informed – this includes permissions to go on school trips, changes to accommodation or in an unexpected event, such as a hospital appointment.

Clause 73.1.f

Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 18

Clause 50.1.d


Refer to 2021 Guidelines, Outcome 12

Safe transfer of care: this applies to international students between 10 and 18 years in the care of a residential caregiver for each transfer of care during enrolment, or at the end of enrolment.

If you are a part of a membership organisation, they might also have resources and plans to follow.

In the unfortunate case of the death of an international learner, refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and their list of Foreign Representatives to New Zealand.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website

Ensure that you, the staff, and the wider learner community have services at hand to support you. For example, calling or texting 1737 will put you through to a trained counsellor for free, anytime day or night.

See the 1737 website

The New Zealand Association of Counsellors has a list of members who offer counselling in other languages.

New Zealand Association of Counsellors website

For school signatories, please refer to the Ministry of Education's Emergencies and Traumatic Incidents for additional resources. You can contact their traumatic incident team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 0800 848 326. 

Ministry of Education's Emergencies and Traumatic Incidents website

Information on Covid-19

The Ministry of Education (MoE) releases bulletins as a central channel for communicating key Covid-19 information, including specific Covid-19 advice for international Code school signatories.

Find bulletins for tertiary providers and schools here

The Ministry of Health has a range of information and guidance on Covid-19, including locations of interest and self-isolation.

Ministry of Health website

The Unite Against COVID-19 website contains information about vaccination requirements for education providers (including student accommodation) at different traffic lights under the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Unite Against COVID-19 website

Please check these websites for latest information and advice.   

If you have any questions or concerns or you need any advice and support when responding to a critical incident, please contact the Code team by phone on 0800 697 296 (and ask to be put through to the Code team) or by email.

Email the Code team

Who does the Code apply to?

The Code applies to all universities, Te Pūkenga, registered private training establishments (PTEs) and wānanga that enrol domestic tertiary learners and/or international learners, and all schools that are Code signatories.

Your organisation must be an approved signatory to the Code before you enrol any international students.

Apply to become a signatory to the Code

Your organisation was an approved signatory to the international Code, you do not need to apply again to become a signatory to the Code.

What do I need to do?

You need to ensure your organisation is giving effect to the new Code as of 1 January 2022. 

This means you have undertaken a gap analysis and: 

  • reviewed current practice against the new Code
  • identified any gaps and planned to address them.

January to June 2022

In 2022, the focus will be on capability building.

You need to update your practices and upskill, to address any gaps identified and ensure compliance with the Code.

July 2022 onwards

You need to undertake ongoing review of and improvement to your practices, as required by the Code.

From July we will resume the following quality assurance processes:

  • Self-review attestation (due dates to be set in collaboration with each sub-sector)
    • The School signatory attestation due date for this year is 1st December 2022. 
  • 'Monitoring for insights' to inform capability-building
  • Including the new Code in external evaluation and review (EER).

Self-review and attestation requirements

Under the Code, your organisation must:

  • carry out an annual self-review of how well you are meeting the Code outcomes and processes
  • document the self-review for your own records and external evaluation and review
    • (For tertiary providers only): make your self-review report available, in an accessible format, to learners, staff and the general public, including on your website.  
  • attest annually to NZQA that you have undertaken this self-review.

These requirements apply for Code signatory providers and schools even if you do not have international learners currently enrolled.

Find out more about the self-review and attestation requirements

What support is available?

We have created guidance, tools and workshops to help you understand and comply with the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021. 

Digital toolkit for promoting the Code 

It is important for all international and domestic tertiary learners to know about the Code so that they understand what services and support are available to them during their studies. 

NZQA has published a digital toolkit with optional resources for you to use to help your learners know and understand the Code.

See the digital toolkit

Guidance and resources

The Code separates Outcomes and requirements based on whether a learner is in school or tertiary education. Our guidance and toolkit resources mirror this distinction. 

Please follow the links below to the relevant information and resources for your type of education organisation.

Guidance and resources for:

School signatories

Tertiary education providers

Information sessions and workshops

We provide regular opportunities for information sessions and workshops on the Code and related matters throughout the year.

Find out about upcoming opportunities and resources

How do I get a copy of the Code?

You can download the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021:

Download the Code in English (PDF, 925KB)

Download the Code in Te Reo Māori (PDF, 939KB)

Stay informed with Code News

Code News is our dedicated newsletter about quality assurance of pastoral care under the Code. It is released regularly. 

Join our Code News mailing list by filling in this form

See copies of Code News

Contact us

Email the Code team at NZQA with any questions or concerns

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