Can you claim points for your qualifications?

How many points is your qualification worth

You may be able to claim up to 70 points for your overseas academic, vocational, or technical qualification(s), providing it is accepted as the equivalent of a New Zealand qualification.

What are NZ qualifications like?

Qualifications are ranked according to the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

Level 10Doctorates
Level 9Master’s Degrees
Level 8Postgraduate Diplomas & CertificatesBachelor’s Degrees with Honours
Level 7Graduate Diplomas & CertificatesBachelor’s Degrees
Level 6CertificatesDiplomas
Level 5CertificatesDiplomas
Level 4Certificates
Level 3CertificatesNCEA Level 3
Level 2CertificatesNCEA Level 2
Level 1CertificatesNCEA Level 1


This framework is also used by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to rank overseas qualifications. Only qualifications level 4 and above may claim points under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Your qualification may be automatically recognised

Your overseas qualification may have been pre-assessed and pre-approved by Immigration New Zealand. It is then ‘exempt’ from doing an International Qualification Assessment. If your qualification is not exempt, you may require a Pre-assessment Result (PAR) if you are only submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI), or a full IQA. The PAR provides a preliminary indication of the level equivalence but is not sufficient for a full visa application. There is a fee of around NZ$750 for a full IQA, and the process can take up to 7 weeks. Your personal Adviser can provide more details on your particular situation.

For an international qualification to be assessed and eligible, it must:

  • be a complete programme of study, and
  • be awarded by a provider that is nationally recognised or accredited by the responsible government or government-mandated authority in the country of award, at the time of award, and
  • have a minimum of 400 notional learning hours (approximately one full-time semester of study), and
  • include achievement of a set of learning outcomes through a formal programme of instruction or learning.

Note that apprenticeship may also sometimes qualify for points.

What about studying in New Zealand?

Studying in New Zealand can be an interesting pathway for migrants. This allows you to benefit from world-class education, global connections, and is a great way to familiarise yourself with the New Zealand culture. To start or further your education in New Zealand also ensures that you may claim points and even bonus points under the Skilled Migrant Category, should you choose to remain in the country to undertake employment.