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Teachers Are in Demand in NZ: What Does This Mean for You?

If you’re a teacher and have ever considered a move to New Zealand, now is a good time. Schools are crying out for qualified teachers, with some even calling it a staffing crisis. The immigration system is set up to prioritise the applications of those in high-demand professions, which means that the barriers for those in education are currently minimised.

While this is not positive news for the children and teenagers of the country, it is for talented educators who would like to gain a work or residence visa. Find out what the requirements are, how fast the process can be, and how to set yourself up for success.

Requirements for teaching in New Zealand

Immigrants can’t walk straight into a teaching job in New Zealand, but it’s a fairly simple process to become registered if you have the right qualifications in your home country. You must demonstrate that:

  • you are sufficiently trained (exact criteria will depend on your country of origin);

  • you meet the English language competency requirements;

  • you have received overseas Police clearance; and

  • you have applied for and received a teaching certification by providing evidence which may include copies of qualifications, transcripts, testimonials, assessment of teaching practice, evidence of induction and mentoring, statements or certificates of professional standing, and your CV.

As experienced immigration lawyers, we can help you to determine exactly which types of evidence will be required or advantageous in your specific situation—as well as advise on other aspects of the application process.

Teaching is a respected profession in NZ, and it has a highly-regarded education system. While schools do vary in accordance with the socio-economic status of their communities, you can expect modern and well-equipped facilities with opportunities for growth and development. The academic year is structured into 4 terms of approximately ten weeks, with two weeks between each plus a six-week break over summer in December and January. The secondary qualification system is called NCEA, a NZ-specific qualification.

Outside of education, there is plenty to attract teachers to New Zealand—and with regular term breaks, they will have a chance to enjoy them. It’s a beautiful country with immense opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors: mountains, lakes, rivers, and endless coastlines. In the 2023 World Happiness Report it was ranked at number ten, an impressive standing.

While teachers can still face the catch-22 situation we’ve mentioned before, getting a job is likely to be significantly easier due to the demand. Also, you can apply for and receive your teacher registration from overseas which makes the process much smoother.

Insights from immigration professionals

We have seen (and helped) many teachers successfully make the move to New Zealand in recent years, particularly from the UK and various Asian nations.

One of the major issues with other immigrants on the skilled migrant pathway is that it’s difficult to find work without being in the country. In many cases, however, we’ve seen prospective immigrants receive both their teaching certification and a job while still overseas. Immigration New Zealand has been prioritising teacher visa applications, and it’s made clear by how fast some applications have been processed.

In addition to nursing and other healthcare roles, teaching is one of the most reliable bets for anyone seeking a work or residency visa here. This applies to teachers of age groups from early childhood education right through to secondary school.

A speedy case study

Over the past six months, we have had several teacher clients obtain residence in New Zealand very quickly under the Skilled Migrant category.

One of these migrants, a teacher from the UK, demonstrated just how smooth the process can be with the right guidance. She was offered a teaching role with a great school in Auckland while still in the UK in April of this year and gained her certification while overseas. We lodged her residence visa application in May and it was approved by July!

By September, this person was working in New Zealand. She even bought a home in the country as we were able to obtain consent for her to do so under the foreign buyer rules. A fantastic result that shows how gaining residency in New Zealand can be quick and fairly easy with the right guidance.

A note on nurses

Healthcare workers are also in hot demand by NZ employers, and those in the industry may also enjoy a speedier immigration process. Nurses have a Straight-to-Residence pathway under the Green List; with a properly prepared application they can expect residence within several months of lodging it.

Get the right assistance

If you’re considering making the move to New Zealand, whatever your profession, seeking help from experienced immigration lawyers is the best way to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If you’re a teacher, we recommend getting in touch as soon as possible. Now’s a perfect time to get the ball rolling!

Set yourself up for success with a private consultation.



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