8 July 2021

New border exception to allow 300 teachers into New Zealand

A new border exception has been announced, to address the ongoing shortage of qualified teachers in New Zealand. This border exception class will allow up to 300 overseas qualified teachers to travel to New Zealand while the border remains closed. This includes teachers who were already working in New Zealand before the pandemic but who were stuck offshore when the border closed, as well as teachers looking to travel to New Zealand for the first time and begin working here.


The application process will be led by schools, who can register their interest with the Ministry of Education to apply to bring a teacher to New Zealand. With only 300 teachers able to enter under this exception class, schools with the greatest need will be prioritised. Eligible schools, early learning services and kura are those which are:


  • Low decile;
  • Hard to staff; or
  • In need of teachers in shortage areas such as science, technology and maths.

They will also need to demonstrate that they have tried to recruit teachers in the New Zealand market but have been unsuccessful in doing so.


Expressions of interest are now open for eligible schools who want to bring in teachers that were already employed by them when the border closed but have been unable to return from overseas (ie. those who had an employment agreement on 19 March 2020, and that employment agreement is still active). In September 2021, applications will open for schools who want to recruit overseas teachers to come to New Zealand for the first time to take up roles here.


Partners and dependent children of eligible teachers will be able to travel to New Zealand with them. In addition, a separate “family reunification” border exception will be created to allow teachers who are currently in New Zealand to be reunited with their offshore partners and children.


For information about the various border exception classes or about the process of applying for entry permission or a visa, contact us.