Teachers are respected members of society in New Zealand. They have high standards of honesty, conduct, competency, and successful teaching practice as a job. However, if you join the 105,000-strong profession, you must get a visa to immigrate to New Zealand as a teacher.

New Zealand’s Education System

The school system is committed to providing consistently high-quality instruction. It is a system that represents the country’s distinct and diversified nature. Students from various backgrounds, religious views, socioeconomic situations, and cultural groupings are welcome.

It has three levels:

  • Education for Young Children (from birth to school age)
  • Primary and secondary schooling (from 5 to 19 years)
  • Advanced education (vocational and higher education)

The government subsidizes early childhood education, and primary and secondary school education is free for New Zealand permanent residents and citizens only in government-owned, state-funded schools.

Are Teachers in Demand in New Zealand?

Yes, they are required. School principals at both the primary (grades 1–4) and secondary (high school) levels and early childhood center managers indicate difficulty in hiring instructors. In addition, according to the government’s talent shortage listings, university professors are also needed.

The life-changing impact of teachers is undeniable. After all, we are all benefactors of numerous instructors’ selfless dedication. Teachers are crucial change agents in all forward-thinking countries.

This is why it is always worrying when there is a teacher shortage or when projections indicate a shortage in the near future.

Immigrate to New Zealand as a Teacher: Eligibility Criteria 

Teachers must satisfy one of the following requirements:

  1. Have a job offer from an NZ State-integrated school or State in Decile 1, 2, or 3;
  2. Have a job offer from a “hard to staff” State or State-integrated school;
  3. Have a job offer in the sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics; 
  4. Are teachers who were formerly engaged as teachers in New Zealand but left the country and have been unable to return owing to border closures; 
  5. Have a job offer as a certified early childhood educator in a low decile service.

How to Immigrate to New Zealand as a Teacher?

To immigrate to New Zealand as a teacher, you must first:

  1. Get a job offer.
  2. Have a tertiary qualification comparable to NZQF (New Zealand Qualifications Framework Level 7.)
  3. Have an IQA evaluation with a teaching assessment as a supplement.
  4. Comply with the English language proficiency standards
  5. Obtain a police clearance.
  6. Check your identification.

Furthermore, if you are a Secondary School Teacher, you should investigate to see if your job is on one of Immigration New Zealand’s skill shortage lists. If yes, you may be eligible for a work or resident visa. Once you have the required documentation, you must contact the Pathways team to begin the border exemption and follow the visa application process. Your partner and dependent children may also apply for the exemption and visas with you. Finally, reserve and secure a Management Isolation Quarantine (MIQ) space.

To be registered and certified as an overseas-trained teacher, you must complete an application form and submit specific supporting documentation. You must also:

  • Demonstrate that you have received adequate training to teach.
  • Prove your command of the English language.
  • Obtain an international police clearance.
  • Check your identity: There are two identity verification forms to complete. One is for if you are residing abroad, and one if you are residing in New Zealand.
  • Gather additional supporting documentation for your application:
    • Qualifications, transcripts, and NZQA assessment copies (if applicable)
    • Testimonial letters (from prior employers praising your teaching abilities)
    • Evaluation of your teaching style (including observation or annual appraisal)
    • Any documentation of induction and mentorship you have received during your teaching career.
    • Professional standing statements/certificates (including proof of Qualified Teacher Status issued in the United Kingdom)
    • A copy of your curriculum vitae
  • Submit the above information and more to apply for teacher registration and a practicing certificate. You may apply for both of them at the same time.

How to Find a Teaching Job in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, schools and early children agencies are responsible for employing their employees. Because there is no central staffing agency or government body in charge of teacher recruiting, you must apply directly to the school or institution where you want to work. Teachers should use online teacher job boards and New Zealand teacher recruitment agencies to identify and apply for teaching employment in New Zealand.

New Zealand Teaching Registration and Qualification Assessment

To immigrate to New Zealand as a teacher, overseas educators must first get New Zealand teacher registration and a practicing certificate. There are three pathways to accomplish this:

General Pathway 

If you already have a teaching qualification (excluding Early Childhood Education), you must use this tool to see if it is on the NZQA pre-approved international teaching qualification list. Suppose your qualification is not on this list. In that case, you must apply to the New Zealand Qualification Authority for an International Qualification Assessment (IQA) with the Teaching Assessment Add-on option (NZQA).

The pre-approved international teaching qualifications list does not include early childhood education (ECE) qualifications. If you want to work in the early childhood education sector (0-6 years), you’ll need an IQA with a Teaching Assessment Add-on that compares your ECE certificate to the core knowledge requirements of a New Zealand ECE or primary teacher education degree. If you have a primary teaching certification but want to work in early childhood education, you will need the same IQA assessment. You can examine your situation using this flow chart.

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (Australia and New Zealand) Pathway

Suppose you are registered in one of the recognized Australian registration bodies and have Provisional or Full teacher registration. In that case, you may be qualified for a teaching license based on the TTMRA or Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement of 1997.

Discretionary Pathway

Suppose the NZQA assessment report for your degree(s) is at level 7 or above but does not match the core knowledge criteria of an educational qualification in teaching. In that case, you may apply through the discretionary pathway. The discretionary pathway analyzes teaching qualifications and experience, appraisal material, and career development as a package to assess whether you can be given registration as an exception to a regular policy.

Suppose you secure teaching registration and a suitable full-time teaching job that fits the specific criteria. Then, you may approach the Pathways team to begin the border exemption and the eventual visa application process. Your spouse and dependent children may also apply for the exemption and visas with you so the entire family can go to New Zealand together.

Immigrate to New Zealand as a Teacher: English Language Standards

The English Language criterion must be met. In addition, anyone pursuing a teaching career or seeking a teaching license or certificate must complete the English language proficiency criteria. For example, IELTS 7 in each band. More information about language competency is in the following sections.

Immigrate to New Zealand as a Teacher: Health & Character Requirements

Your health and character are also requirements. You must have good health, both physically and mentally.

Immigrate to New Zealand as a Teacher: Teaching Requirements and Qualifications


The more the obligations of the teacher, the younger the children. As a result, to serve as a teacher in a New Zealand kindergarten, you must finish three years of Bachelor’s degree studies in New Zealand. If you already hold a teaching degree (Bachelor, Specialist, or Master):

  • NZQA must confirm your diploma.
  • You must have an IELTS Academic with a minimum score of 7.0 in each module.
  • You must graduate for 1 year at the Graduate Diploma level in New Zealand, resulting in a license.


Primary and secondary school teachers are the two types of teachers in New Zealand schools (senior classes). To work in a New Zealand school as a teacher, you must have an IELTS Academic with at least 7.0 in each module, a license, and a diploma. For a primary school, you need a diploma from a teacher, and for a secondary school, you need a diploma from a teacher who focuses on a specific topic.

You can receive a teacher’s license and validate your diploma by emailing it to NZQA. This will allow you to hunt for a job as a teacher at a school, but to secure a work visa, the employer must demonstrate that they have not found anybody suitable in the local labor market and that you are the best match for the job. Alternatively, you may enroll in a course to improve your English while obtaining a teaching license and doing a job hunt.

Another alternative is to study for a year on the 7th-degree program, known as qualification confirmation, or the 8th level, known as advanced training, after which you will be granted a work visa for a year. Having such a visa on hand and the New Zealand diploma can substantially simplify the job hunt.

Primary school teachers’ duties:

  • Lesson planning, preparation, and delivery
  • Teaching a variety of disciplines, including arts, English, math, and science
  • Keeping up with curricular changes and assessment methodologies
  • Assessing and documenting each child’s learning and growth.
  • Monitoring and regulating student behavior.
  • Assisting in the development of children’s social skills and behaviors
  • Attending teacher/parent meetings with parents and caregivers.
  • Leading a curriculum area inside the school, including English or math.
  • Participating in after-school activities, including camps, sports coaching, and school fairs.
  • Performing playground or road patrol duties at lunchtime.

Secondary school teachers’ duties:

  • Lesson planning, preparation, and delivery
  • Setting up and grading assignments and tests.
  • Examining students’ work for national certification.
  • Maintaining student records and making reports on them.
  • Monitoring and regulating student behavior in the classroom and other settings such as the gym and sports grounds.
  • Participating in departmental and staff meetings.
  • Meeting with parents or caregivers individually or during meetings.
  • Taking part in or arranging extracurricular activities such as sports, camps, and plays.
  • Keeping up with the curricular changes and assessment procedures.

Teachers at Universities (Lecturers)

You will not need any particular licenses or an IELTS score to work as a professor in a higher education institution. However, there are criteria for working as a university instructor, which vary depending on which university you plan to work at.

  • In the case of a university, a master’s or Ph.D. candidate’s degree in pedagogy is required, as well as teaching experience and the availability of academic publications.
  • In the case of an institute or polytechnic, a teacher’s diploma and experience as a teacher in a specific field are sufficient.

Furthermore, university professors appear on short-term lists of popular specializations. As a result, if you have the necessary degree and job experience, you need the invitation to work to acquire a work visa. However, the employer will not be required to demonstrate that they could not find anyone among the locals.

As a result, the same possibilities apply to language classes or advanced training at Level 8 or 9 (Master’s).

Teachers English

Several language schools and organizations in New Zealand require English teachers, sometimes known as ESOL teachers (teaching English to speakers of other languages). Of course, native speakers are preferred, but there are many international English teachers. English teachers can work at a public school, a university, or a private language school.

Requirements for an English teacher at school

To teach at a general school (elementary and secondary), you must have a teaching license as well as one of the ESOL credentials listed below:

  • CELTA Cambridge Certificate
  • TESOL certificate
  • DELTA Cambridge Diploma
  • Diploma of a non-native English language teacher or TESOL.

It is also important to be registered with the New Zealand Teachers Council and to possess a current teaching certificate, which must be renewed every three years.

Requirements for an English teacher at a higher education institution

A Master’s degree in TESOL and at least two years of relevant work experience is required to become an ESOL instructor in a higher education institution.

Requirements for an English teacher in a private language school

It is sufficient to hold at least one of the following ESOL qualifications to teach in a private language school:

  • CELTA Cambridge Certificate
  • TESOL certificate
  • DELTA Cambridge Diploma
  • Diploma of a non-native English language teacher or TESOL.
Infographic How to Work and Immigrate to New Zealand as a Teacher

How Much is the Average Salary of Teachers in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, the average teacher income is $55,332 per year or $28.38 per hour. Entry-level salaries begin at $46,668 per year, with the most experienced professionals earning up to $78,554 per year.


Salary (New Zealand Dollar)

Graduate Primary Teachers

48,000 – 52,000

Primary School teachers (2-6 years experience)

52,000 – 75,000

Primary School Teachers (6+ years experience)

71,000 – 80,000

New Secondary School Teachers

52,000 – 57,000

Secondary School Teachers (5+ years experience)

71,000 – 80,000

How do I Become a Teacher in New Zealand: Let’s Recap

New Zealand has an exceptional education system and is ranked among the top 20 nations worldwide for educational excellence. However, while primary and secondary teachers and early childhood educators are in high demand, it can be difficult for internationally trained teachers to find teaching jobs in New Zealand unless their training is listed on Immigration New Zealand’s skills shortage list and the hiring body can demonstrate that it was unable to find a suitable New Zealand teacher.

To get a work visa in New Zealand as a teacher, you must fulfill the employment qualifications indicated on Immigration New Zealand’s skill shortage listings. This involves showing English language ability, receiving foreign Police clearance, validating your qualifications, and completing the standards for New Zealand registration.


Yes. Schools are reporting complications in recruiting teachers.

The average teacher’s income is $55,332 per year or $28.38 per hour.

A teacher must have a registration in New Zealand and also have a provisional practicing certificate issued by the New Zealand Teaching Council.

How useful was this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.3 / 5. Vote count: 3

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this article.