Code Of Practice For The Pastoral Care Of International Students

RELA is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code).

What is the Code?

New Zealand education providers have an important role in ensuring the wellbeing of their international students. The Code sets out the minimum standards of advice and care that are expected of education providers for international students. This ensures students coming from other countries to study in New Zealand are well informed, safe, and properly cared for.

New Zealand defines international students as those that are not domestic students. There is further information about this on the New Zealand Ministry of Education website at

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is the administrator of the Code on behalf of the New Zealand government.

Who does the Code apply to?

All education providers in New Zealand who enrol international students must be a signatory to the Code and adhere to its requirements

A list of education providers that have signed up to the Code is available on the NZQA website at

How can I get a copy of the Code?

Agents and Students are encouraged to read the Code, which is available on the NZQA website in several languages

If you have further questions about the Code you can email

Following is a summary of the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code). It provides information for students and their parents on what to do if they have a complaint about their treatment by a New Zealand education provider or agent of an education provider.

What can you expect of an education provider?

Students and their families can expect education providers to:

  • provide clear, sufficient and accurate information so you can make informed choices about your education • give you clear, understandable information on your legal obligations and rights, including refund policies, and termination of your enrolment under any contracts you enter into with the provider • check that you have the prescribed insurance cover • provide a safe and supportive environment for study • as far as practicable, ensure you live in accommodation that is safe and appropriate • provide you with a comprehensive orientation programme to support you in your study and outline your obligations • monitor their agents to ensure they provide you with reliable information and advice about studying, working and living in New Zealand • ensure that the educational instruction on offer is appropriate for your expectations, English language proficiency, and academic capability • have proper policy and processes in place to safeguard students’ fees paid and be able to provide an appropriate refund if you withdraw or your course closes • ensure you have access to proper and fair procedures for dealing with grievances (concerns or complaints).

What if something goes wrong?

If you have concerns about how your education provider or an agent is treating you, you should first contact your provider and follow their grievance procedure.

Education providers must have an internal grievance procedure to listen to and deal with any concerns or complaints to ensure a fair result. They will have designated a person who you can talk to and who will advise you on how to address your concerns or complaints. This may be the principal or the international student director.

If the provider’s grievance process does not address your concerns or complaints, you can contact:

  • NZQA (for concerns and complaints about a provider breaching the Code) or • iStudent Complaints (for concerns and complaints about money or contracts).

Is your complaint about a provider breaching the Code?

As the Code administrator NZQA has the legal authority to investigate potential breaches of the Code. It has a process for finding out if the concern or complaint is valid and if a provider has breached the Code. This includes getting information from both the student who has raised the concern or complaint and the education provider.

For information about how to make a complaint see the NZQA website

Is your complaint about money or contracts?

iStudent Complaints is an independent service provided by the New Zealand government that can help you resolve concerns and complaints that are about money or contracts with an education provider. The service is free.

You can contact iStudent Complaints in a few ways:

Phone                                  +64 4 918 4975 or 0800 00 66 75
Fax                                         +64 4 918 4901
On social media:               Facebook istudent.complaints
WeChat (search for ‘NZ  iStudent Complaints’ Chinese language only)

Post:                                iStudent Complaints P.O. Box 2272 Wellington 6014