Code of Practice


Purpose and principles

These guidelines are for use by tertiary organisations.

These are guidelines to help support signatories, and potential signatories, to establish practices that meet the legislative outcomes of the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 – the Code.

The Code prescribes (alongside other quality assurance prescriptions in the Education Act 1989) the outcomes sought from signatories for their international students, and the key processes required of signatories to support the well-being, achievement, and rights of international students.


These guidelines are designed as a starting point only, giving broad advice around the Code. They are not government policy. They do not cover all requirements under the Outcomes of the Code. They do not cover every situation that signatories may come across, and not all of the information and advice will be relevant to all signatories.

How to use these guidelines

These guidelines must be read in conjunction with the Code. They have been structured around key outcome areas of the Code, and have reference to relevant clauses for ease of use. An additional topic around signatory self-review has also been included.

The expertise in student care lies with the international education sector – these guidelines help to bring some of that expertise into a common space to share, connect and grow.

The New Zealand international education industry is made up of a wide range of operations, some with only a few international students to others with hundreds.

There is no one-size-fits-all when ensuring the best care for international students – signatories must understand their own unique path to actively support their international students and continually review and improve what they do.

How to become a signatory

Guidance on how to become a signatory including forms, please refer to the page on the NZQA website on how to apply for approval to enrol international students for more information:

Understanding the terms ‘reasonable’ and ‘as far as possible/practicable’

The terms ‘reasonable’ and ‘as far as possible or practicable’ are used throughout the Code to help guide signatories. This acknowledges the variety of signatories’ circumstances, and the types of students they enrol.

Students under 18

The guidelines recognise that while the majority of students at tertiary providers are over 18 year olds, some signatories will enrol students under 18 years of age. The Guidelines for the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 – Schools contains information for supporting school aged students.