Education in New Zealand – the way to immigration


New Zealand education system

First, let’s take a look at the New Zealand education system in order to understand how it differs from what is more familiar and understandable to us, as well as to correlate our level with New Zealand.

Preschool education

The first stage is preschool education. Children can attend kindergartens up to 5 years old, and for children from 3 to 5 years old, you can count on government subsidies, regardless of which visa you are on. They cover up to 20 hours per week for preschool attendance. Additional hours cost between NZ $ 7 and NZ $ 10 per hour.

A more detailed article on Early Childhood Education in New Zealand.

School education

The second stage is school education. At the age of 5, children can go to school without waiting for the start of the next semester or academic year. To study at school for free, it is necessary that at least one of the student’s parents has a work visa, residency or citizenship of New Zealand. Paid tuition starts at 12 thousand New Zealand dollars per year.

In total, school education takes from 11 to 13 years, depending on the plans of the student. In high school, from years 11 to 13, students take the NCEA state exams at levels 1, 2, and 3 by year, respectively. For admission to the leading universities in the country, you must provide good indicators of the NCEA level 3 certificate, that is, complete all 13 years of study.

Foreign students who graduate from schools in their countries for 10-12 years and wish to study at universities are required to take a Foundation preparatory course, lasting from 9 to 18 months. The cost of this course is about NZ $ 25,000. Alternatively, you can consider admission not to universities, but polytechnics and institutes, and if you wish, transfer to a university in the future.

A more detailed article on school education in New Zealand.

Professional education

The third stage is professional education. Here, everything is divided into certain stages and levels.

Levels 1 to 4

These are certificates and diplomas of initial vocational or trades education. Their duration can range from several months to several years.

Level 5 and 6

These are certificates and diplomas of vocational education in certain areas. This is usually 1 or 2 years of education.

Level 7

The Bachelor’s degree in New Zealand is level 7 and is obtained in 3-4 years of study. There is also the possibility of obtaining a retraining or additional specialisation based on the existing education. It will also be level 7, but it is called the Graduate Diploma and it takes 1 year.

Level 8

Postgraduate Diploma is an upgrade in an already existing qualification also in 1 year.

Level 9

A master’s degree or Masters Degree usually takes 1 to 2 years based on the existing undergraduate degree.

Level 10

The highest degree is a PhD. 3 or 4 years of dissertation writing under the guidance of a university teacher.

A more detailed article on the New Zealand education system.

Types of higher education institutions

Just a little more fundamental information about education in New Zealand before we get into trends, immigration and employment. It is important to understand how educational institutions differ from each other in order to make correct decisions.

Universities – from NZ$ 25K to 35K per year

The most prestigious education in New Zealand can be obtained at universities. There are only 8 of them and they are located in different cities of the country. It is here that the largest selection of specialities, excellent conditions, modern equipment and the best contingent of students, but also the cost of such education is the highest, on average from 25 to 35 thousand New Zealand dollars per year.

Auckland University

State institutes (polytechnics) – from NZ$ 16K to 25K per year

State institutes or polytechnics are located a step lower in prestige. They tend to offer slightly more practical programs than the academic knowledge of universities. Quite often, the main (not additional international campuses) also offer excellent facilities and a student atmosphere surrounded by local and international students. The prices here are already more affordable, with various discounts it can go from 16 to 25 thousand New Zealand dollars per year.

Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland

Private institutes – from NZ$ 15K to 25K per year or from NZ$  8K to 15K per year, depending on the institute

The next step is the private educational institutes. It is important to note here that their variety, quality and offered conditions can vary greatly from place to place. From super-modern specialised institutes with an excellent reputation and prices ranging from NZ$ 15,000 to $25,000 per year to economy options that occupy a couple of floors of office buildings, which are most often chosen not so much for education as for immigration purposes, but at a relatively affordable price from 8 to 15 thousand New Zealand dollars per year.

Auckland Institute of Studies (AIS), Auckland

It should be noted that the prestige of education received is not always important to the employer. Although in a number of industries this is still an important point. So when choosing, you should weigh your options and wishes, and also carefully study the difference between certain institutions in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.

A detailed article on how the education providers in New Zealand differ and how important their prestige is.

Quality and trends in education

The quality of New Zealand education is a popular topic of discussion not only among migrant communities from different countries but also in the highest circles of the state level. Let’s see what is going on inside the education system, what advantages and disadvantages it has.

First, about the ratings. In our opinion, world rankings are purely virtual status, and they do not give a real display of the world’s situation. The fact is that the same university can have incredibly cool and modern programs, for example, in engineering, but at the same time, the university can make good money on ordinary business programs that are simply sold to those who do not want to receive a technical speciality or has not completely decided on their profession for the future.

Moreover, let’s be honest, how many of us are aiming for the most prestigious positions in the head offices of leading international organisations, where this rating may have some value in employment? At the same time, the quality of education is an important factor and sometimes it is difficult to find reliable information, so people are forced to rely on at least something.

World rankings for the quality of universities

The three most popular are:

  • QS Top Universities
  • Shanghai Ranking
  • Times Higher Education

In the QS Top Universities ranking, the country’s leading university, the University of Auckland, is ranked 83 in the world, and 5 more universities are in the top 300.

At the same time, Shanghai Ranking is much less positive about the position of New Zealand universities.

A similar situation is observed in the Times Higher Education rankings, where none of the New Zealand universities makes it to the world’s top 100.

Studying at the university

On the one hand, New Zealand universities are trying to keep up with the times. In good, I emphasise, good universities, equipment is regularly updated, as well as the information itself. The lectures focus on case studies and recent data.

In practical classes, much attention is paid to group assignments, which prepares future graduates to work in teams. In the age of digitalisation, the format of online courses is increasingly used, when you just need to watch a video lecture, and then do your own research, write a work on this topic and present it in front of teachers, or develop a whole project.

Often, programs are given on the basis of real cases, when you need to calculate something for a specific task. There is also an internship when you, in fact, apply your educational research in practice in various companies. Either the professionals themselves conduct lectures or seminars, sharing with you their rich experience from the industry.

At the same time, New Zealand was not spared the problems of bureaucracy, because of which valuable time can be spent on the introduction of a particular subject, or on its modification. Working in teams is often a headache because, as elsewhere, not all people in a group really intend to learn, so you can be dragged down.

In low-cost universities, there is a risk of meeting not the most competent teachers, who themselves were students yesterday. Or you may face theorists who will lull you to sleep with their mantras that do not apply to real life. In general, the problems are pretty much the same as in the rest of the world.

Both the global education system in general and the New Zealand education system in particular are on the brink of a crisis that should reshape the structure and approach to qualifications in the future. It makes less sense to study many specialities, such as information technology or marketing in the classical classroom. The dynamic changes in these industries are making online education more and more attractive. It is likely that in the near future we will see how smarter and more adaptive universities keep only a number of classic subjects with teaching in classrooms, and everything else will be transferred online, while other, less flexible institutions will fall in this struggle.

Why you need a New Zealand education

It is important to understand that professional education in New Zealand currently has two main functions. The first is the direct cultivation of specialists for the domestic and international markets. You need to understand the specifics of the country in order to realise which areas are really taught here at the global level. For example, veterinarians from New Zealand, experts in agriculture, environmental protection, some scientists, as well as creative people from the field of animation and 3D effects are really appreciated in the world. At the same time, the domestic market is in dire need of information technology specialists, engineers, builders, teachers and medical workers. Therefore, universities are making every effort to train worthy specialists in these industries.

The second function of New Zealand education, whatever one may say, is commerce. It is difficult to blame the country for this because all the leading countries and universities do this and also make good money. Due to some points of the attractiveness of a country or university, ratings, living conditions and other parameters, people from all over the world strive to get an education here.

About 100,000 student visas are issued annually in the country, and people come to study for different purposes. For example, it is considered prestigious for thousands of students from Japan and Korea to study in an English-speaking country. In addition, there is much less competition and pressure in New Zealand, and upon return, such a graduate can successfully find a job in their homeland. Many students visit New Zealand universities for short periods of exchange, spending 6 to 12 months here, and then return to their original university in another country. A significant part of people are initially interested in living in New Zealand, so they consider education as a step for immigration.

Immigration to New Zealand through education

Immigration through education is the most popular way to move to New Zealand. In fact, successful immigration is about finding a job in the country. And there are actually no chances to find it remotely, there can be only in exceptional cases of some unique and strong specialists. Employers simply do not want to bother with work visas, and taking a pig in a poke is a risk. You can, of course, come on a visitor’s visa, but in this case, there is very little time to look for a job, and other visas are not given in the case of citizens of Russia and the CIS countries. As a result, when there is no other way out, you can combine business with pleasure and get an education there either from scratch, or pass retraining, or upgrade the level of your speciality. All of this will greatly increase your chances of subsequent employment. In addition, there is an opportunity to bring your family with you during your studies.

What education in New Zealand gives

The first is knowledge and a local diploma on the CV. But here we will make a note again. If you deliberately choose the cheapest option of the program and institute, then you should not stigmatise the whole country and all its education providers in low quality. Everywhere there are cheap pass-through options, and there are decent ones with the highest quality. In addition, some informationally unprepared students are surprised by the structure of education. In New Zealand, as in any other country with a British education system, the emphasis is on self-study. Most of the time, you will research materials and write term papers on the studied data. The role of the teacher, in this case, is more like mentoring and guiding. If you want to learn, you will learn.

The second point that education gives you is time and experience. Don’t underestimate the importance of these points. Life in a new country can be very challenging in the early stages, and studying helps you gradually get on track and adapt to the social environment. In addition, with the right use of this time, you make useful acquaintances and establish connections, especially important in a small country.

Well, the third, and for many, the main point is a graduate work visa or Post Study Work Visa. After studying on programs from 4 to 6 levels for 2 years, or on the Graduate Diploma 7 level program for at least a year, the graduate is entitled to a one-year work visa. And if the study was not in Auckland, a work visa is issued for 2 years. And if you graduate from the Bachelor’s program, or advanced training at 8, 9 or 10 levels, then regardless of the city of study, a work visa is issued for 3 years.

Having a local diploma, acquaintances, time, as well as an open work visa, the chances of finding a job increase significantly.

A more detailed article on Post Study Work Visa.

Employment in New Zealand

As mentioned earlier, New Zealand lacks IT professionals, engineers, builders, and a range of other professionals. However, this does not mean that work itself will find you easily. It also does not mean that professionals from other fields do not have employment opportunities. Everyone has a chance. And, as practice shows, the higher your skill level, the lower the competition for the job.

No university will also give you a 100% guarantee of employment after receiving your diploma. Although, as statistics show, most graduates still find work in their speciality after graduation.

It is important for you to prepare for the search process and know all its nuances. Many factors will affect employment success, for example, your skill level, knowledge of English, ability to present yourself and your personality. Being prepared for the process not only increases the chances of success but also has a positive psychological effect.

A more detailed article on how to look for a job in New Zealand.

Further steps in Immigration

Surprisingly, after successful employment, the immigration process does not end. If you are considering the possibility of staying in the country for a long time, you must study in advance all the conditions for obtaining permanent resident visas. Either you will get a work visa that will lead you to residency on its own, or you will gain enough points for professional immigration. Explore the information on the Kiwi Education website to be as prepared as possible for all stages of this difficult path.

If you have any questions, please contact us by filling out the application form on the Kiwi Education website, and we will gladly help you.

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