A Comprehensive Guide for NZ Employers: Supporting Migrant Employees’ Kids’ Education

Learn to support migrant employees and their kids' education, ensuring a smooth transition into the New Zealand education system.
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Last Updated On June 3, 2023
Contributors: Denise Renshaw. Edited By Simar Singh & Reviewed by Yongtian Liu.

New Zealand is a highly sought-after destination for skilled migrants seeking better opportunities and a higher quality of life. As an employer, your role in helping your migrant employees settle the education for their children can make a significant impact on their overall integration into the community.

This blog post provides practical and useful information on how you can help your migrant employees navigate the New Zealand education system for their kids.

Understanding the New Zealand Education System

Here is what you should know :

1. The Basics

  • Early childhood education (ECE) caters to children aged 0-5 years.
  • Primary and intermediate schools cover Years 1-8 (ages 5-12).
  • Secondary schools cover Years 9-13 (ages 13-18).
  • The school year runs from late January to mid-December.

2. The Curriculum

  • New Zealand follows a national curriculum that covers key learning areas and emphasizes 21st-century skills and competencies.
  • The curriculum provides guidelines for schools and teachers to develop their programs
  • The curriculum is designed to be inclusive and meet the needs of diverse learners, including those from different cultural backgrounds.

Offering Support in School Selection

Here is what you should know :

1. Guide Them Through the Process

  • Explain the zoning system for state schools, which assigns students to schools based on their residential address.
  • Help them understand the differences between state, state-integrated, and private schools.
  • Provide information on schools that offer bilingual or immersion programs in the migrant employee's native language if available.

2. Research and Shortlist

  • Help them identify schools in their area by using the Ministry of Education's website (https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/find-school).
  • Provide assistance in evaluating school performance using Education Review Office (ERO) reports.
  • Offer to attend school visits or open days with them if possible.

Enrollment Assistance

Here is what you should know :

1. Documentation

  • Guide your employees through the enrollment process by clarifying the required documentation, including proof of address, visas, and immunization records.
  • Offer support in translating documents if needed.

2. Financial Support

  • Provide information on financial assistance programs, such as subsidies for early childhood education and school donations.

Connecting With the School Community

Here is what you should know :

1. Parent-Teacher Meetings

  • Encourage your employees to attend parent-teacher meetings and conferences to stay informed about their children's progress.
  • Offer flexible work hours to allow them to attend these meetings if possible.

2. School Events and Activities

  • Encourage your migrant employees to participate in school events and activities as a way to integrate into the school community and establish connections with other parents.

3. Parent Support Groups

  • Help them identify parent support groups, including those specifically for migrant families.

Offering Language Support

Here is what you should know :

1. English Language Assistance

  • Provide information on English language classes and resources available for both the employees and their children.
  • Encourage your employees to engage in language exchanges or find a language tutor for their children.

2. Encouraging Bilingualism

  • Advocate for the value of bilingualism and encourage your employees to maintain their native language at home.


As an employer, you play a crucial role in ensuring the successful integration of your migrant employees and their families into New Zealand society. By offering practical support and guidance in navigating the education system, you not only help your employees and their children succeed but also strengthen your organization's diverse and inclusive work environment.