Table of Contents

T.O.C

Thank you for your comment! Once approved we will get back to you shortly.

SOUTHERN MAN IMMIGRATION BLOG

Teacher Crisis Worsens in New Zealand

May 5, 2023
Iain MacLeod

In what can really only be described as shocking, the Post Primary Teachers Association (Secondary/High School union) has confirmed through a survey of school Principals that the teacher shortage has become so acute that one in three schools are being forced to cancel subject specific classes.

Furthermore the number of applicants for teaching roles has fallen to its lowest level ever.

This really is unprecedented and clearly represents a threat to the education of our children during, arguably, their most critical educational years.

The significant majority of teachers leaving their positions are not moving to other schools but changing careers or retiring, according to the PPTA.

Two weeks ago I provided the results of a survey which indicated that over 90% of employers are struggling to fill vacancies across 17 different sectors. Over 30% say they had unfilled vacancies after six months of searching.

With unemployment confirmed in the March 2023 quarter remaining at a two generation low of 3.4% and private sector salaries continuing to increase by 6%, it is going to become harder to encourage young New Zealanders to enter the profession and sadly there still seems a reluctance on the part of many schools to recruit foreign trained teachers.

In some respects Principals are making a rod for their own backs. It is not helped however when salaries in the private sector and across the Tasman Sea in Australia are higher.

I have never understood this seeming reluctance by some to want a New Zealander (whatever that means) or nothing. In Auckland where 42% of the population was not born in New Zealand our schools are full of immigrant children. When my own boys were at primary School there was children from over 49 different countries enrolled. I recall the Principal telling me when I asked why, given he was a superb forward thinking educator, he was reluctant to employ foreign trained teachers? His answer was that we are trying to create New Zealanders.

Struck me as really odd because I don’t know what a ‘real’ New Zealander even is any more and as an incredibly enlightened educator his comment seemed at odds with his own school population.

That was 20 years ago. Seems not much has changed.

I get at least half a dozen qualified, fluent English speaking foreign trained teachers every week contacting me about moving to New Zealand.

Mostly I explain that subject to registration, which in itself requires the equivalent of a Teacher specific degree and fluency in English, there are plenty of jobs here. In fact, far more jobs than applicants.

My advice most of the time these days however is to go to Australia because they are as desperate for teachers as we are. And you don’t need a job to secure permanent residence in Australia.

New South Wales alone is reporting they are going to need 10,000 more teachers by 2030.

The pay is better in Australia than in New Zealand. More importantly for those who are not rich (meaning, all Teachers) the prospect of having to come to New Zealand, apply for jobs, spend thousands of dollars in living costs before they land the job, waiting weeks for a work visa and then being told they have to work for two years before being able to even apply for residence makes Australia a no brainer for the under 45 years old Teacher.

The Aussies will grant them permanent residence within 3-6 months of filing their application. While it does take 4-6 months to get into a position to file that PR application it takes that long in New Zealand as well. For the most part, Principals here won’t offer jobs to anyone who is not in New Zealand and does not hold work rights. This is not to say teachers coming to New Zealand will not get jobs, overwhelmingly they do, my point is, why put yourself through the stress, hassle, cost and insecurity? Australia has thrown the arms wide open in welcome.

We are not making it easy for ourselves as a country.

I would add that the Teachers who contact IMMagine are overwhelmingly from former British colonies meaning their education systems are very similar to our own. I have called for and am gaining some traction to grant those working in occupations we desperately need like Teachers, residence before they get here. We simply have to level the playing field if we are to compete with Australia.

I’ve never been able to understand employers, whether they be school Principals or any other – who would prefer to leave a vacancy unfilled when the demand for highly qualified and experienced Teachers to move here is so great?

Of course pay needs to be competitive. Naturally conditions need to be as good as they can be.

A BEd graduate will start on $51,358 and max out at $85,490. A BEd (Honours) starts at $58,133 and top off at $90,000. A teacher with a Masters or PhD begins at $61,794 and tops out at $90,000.

For some bizarre reason, teachers are paid based on their qualifications, not their ability but that is another story.

As a second family income those maximums aren’t bad money at all.

If however you’ve been to University, done your degree, are single and want to live in Auckland you are starting on less than the median salary (in Auckland the median salary for everyone is closer to $80,000). Zero chance of being able to afford to buy a home on a teacher salary if you are single.

You’d have to be incredibly committed to take on one of the most challenging jobs and when our society seems to place such a low value on your skills, is it any wonder we are now seeing specialist classes in schools being cancelled?

Sadly for our children and our future as a society another reason for Teachers overseas looking for a new start is to consider Australia over New Zealand.

Until next week

Iain MacLeod

Southern Man

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Iain MacLeod

Iain has been working as an Immigration Adviser since 1988 and has been running his own practice since 1990. In 1998 he merged his practice with Myer Lipschitz leading to the creation of Protea Pacific Limited which was rebranded in 2008 to IMMagine New Zealand Limited...

Read More

Leave a Reply

  1. I thought Australia required a higher level for the English test than NZ. Apparently the NZ requirement is 7 per module and Australia is 8 per module.

    This is quite tough to pass as it is the higher technical English exam.

    Could you please reply to clarify for me ?

    1. Hi Owen

      I assume that you are referring to the requirement to obtain teacher registration in both countries not the minimum score that needs to be attained for the purposes of visa approval.

      As far as New Zealand teacher registration is concerned you need seven on each of the four bands of the academic version of the IELTS test or one of the other English-language exemptions mentioned on the following site:https://teachingcouncil.nz/getting-certificated/for-overseas-trained-teachers/language-competency-requirements/

      As far as Australia is concerned you need to look at teacher registration requirements from state to state but I think you will find that most require you to score 7/9 for reading and writing and 8/9 speaking and listening. This is the requirement for obtaining a positive skills assessment as well unless one of the exemptions apply.

  2. Hi Iain

    My two cents given my family’s recent/ongoing experience:

    My wife is a primary school trained and experienced teacher with a decade of experience. We applied for countless primary school positions during and after covid with no success. We eventually cottoned-on to the fact that as much as there is a teacher shortage in NZ, primary schools are not interested in hiring overseas-trained teachers – I’ve seen how the job specs for primary school positions have become increasingly specific on Te Reo Maori proficiency/cultural knowledge/experience as well as specifying thorough knowledge and experience of the NZ curriculum (much emphasis is placed on this in job adverts) – even for beginning teacher positions!

    We eventually resorted to applying for early childhood positions and found employment that way – but let’s be honest, ECE teachers are the lowest-of-the-low when it comes to working conditions, benefits and pay so no wonder there are shortages in this sector.

    I just get the feeling that hiring an overseas teacher for primary school is a political/social hot potato (obviously a blind-eye is turned when hiring niche subject teachers such as science and maths).

    Even now that we are in NZ with work rights, primary schools are still not interested in hiring – we are not alone in experiencing this, look at any Facebook group of South African Teachers in NZ etc.

    The only thing holding a lot of South African teachers from getting into Oz is the ridiculously high IELTS score needed for the skills assessment.

    A word of advice and caution for the South African primary school teachers so desperate to get out of the Banana Republic:

    Try your hardest at getting the IELTS score for Oz.

    For those teachers that can’t get in to Oz/choose NZ:

    You are probably going to have to take a career down-step to get in here (primary school to ECE).

    If you think that you are going to come here and teach majority English-speaking kids, think again! (Especially true in Auckland)

    We are extremely grateful for making it to NZ and we love this country. That is why it saddens us there are plenty of social and political problems that are becoming worse at a frighteningly fast rate (“diversity and equity” hiring, land issues and RAPID demographic changes are but a few).

    These issues don’t seem to be as prevalent in Oz as they are here. For now, at least!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Marcus

      Great comment and it reinforces what I am saying. I sometimes wonder if shortages across many sectors, not only restricted to educatoin in both New Zealand and Australia are self inflicted – what employers seem to want and will only settle for is Kiwis with NZ education, qualifications and work experience. It’s the same across the Ditch and no doubt it’d be the same if I was silly enough to want to move to South Africa. Which is well and good when unemployment is high, but it isn’t and we are not making teaching attractive enough of a first choice career.

      Therefore whether Principals like it or not they have a choice – no teacher standing up in front of the class or a person who might be linguistically and culturally not best fit but pretty damn close.

      Why some choose to have none rather than someone leads me in my more cynical moments to wonder if maybe the unions that run education in New Zealand and Australia find it perversely a good thing – scarcity of teachers gives them greater leverage to demand higher wages. I don’t actually believe that when it comes to Teachers but I do when it comes to the medical profession…..

      Another point I make to all the teachers we represent is the ‘better’ (read, draw on a wealthier cohort of students) schools don’t have a lot of trouble recruiting locally trained teachers even in this candidate short market. It is the less well off areas that struggle most and where many foreign trained teachers start their NZ teaching journey. As some of the kids will have english as a second language and some will come from homes where money is tight and so don’t enjoy the same advantages of those in better off areas, they bring those social and economic issues to school. And those are the schools that really struggle to fill vacancies. I warn all my clients that it could be a baptism of fire but many must start in such schools. It isn’t a life sentence. Some I hasten to add, love those sorts of schools.

      On English language you are right that the standard to secure a positive skills assessment in Australia is slightly higher than NZ but only marginally. Both countries demand fluency in English. My point was the standard required to get into Australia is not that different to NZ so any teacher wanting to come to NZ should, all other things being equal, apply to Australia. At best you get two countries to choose from to live in out of one visa process and PRV holders of Australia are entitled on arrival in NZ to a resident visa at the airport so we use Australia as the back door. Doesn’t mean you will get a teaching job here I guess but with full work rights you can go and do something else to put food on the table while you look.

      I am sure your partner will find a teaching job.

      Hang in there, if migration was easy, everyone would be doing it.

      Iain

  3. Special and straight forward…especially for me with much interest to leave South Africa one and work in Australia.
    Teacher by professional….intermediate level.
    Keep me posted will definitely or desperately looking for such info.
    God bless.

  4. I am interested in relocating to either Australia or New Zealand. My highest qualification is Licentiate Degree in Mathematics and Computers with the University of Jose Varona. I have 23 years of teaching experience.

    1. Post
      Author

      Dear Timothy

      The best advice I can offer before you get too deep into this is to take advantage of our (free) preliminary evaluation. We will identify what options you currently have to secure residence of New Zealand and/or Australia and invite you to either attend one of our online seminars and/or book a private (not fee) consultation. The consultation is the mitty gritty where we share strategy, timelines, costs, risks, discuss your employability and so on with you. They last 60-90 minutes ordinarily hence the charge.

      Here is the link if you’d like to take the first cautious step. https://immigration.co.nz/assessments/free-evaluation

      Iain

  5. Reading this from South Africa and I must say it’s very informative.

    I’m qualifying with a BEd in 2025 and my husband and I with our baby that is on the way are looking to make a location change.

    There are a lot of pros and cons to go through and a major factor for us is subliminal racism, especially on our daughter. We don’t tolerate nor compromise on that. We are all equal on this earth and our time is limited.

    Another factor would be safety, a country that is almost crime free. No one is perfect but respect for the next person life and belongings is high key important.

    Would you say New Zealand or Australia would be able to afford us a minimalistic life we desire?

    Warm regards,
    Noni

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi

      Being helpful is the name of the game. So is being honest. Do New Zealand and Australia have crime? Absolutely we do. I would however suggest that it is somewhat akin to a Sunday school picnic by comparison to South Africa where crime seems to be a national pastime. Are New Zealand or Australia without racism? Absolutely not. Are your children like to be disadvantaged because of the colour of their skin? unlikely. In a longitudinal survey that’s me going on in New Zealand for 30 years something like 90% of all migrants confirm they have never experienced any form of racism, overt or covert. That is not to say it does not exist. Racism exists everywhere.

      Iain

  6. I would like to migrate to new Zealand .lam a special needs teacher and also early years teacher.
    after reading this I feel hopeful.
    can you help please

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello

      The best advice I can offer before you get too deep into this is to take advantage of our (free) preliminary evaluation. We will identify what options you currently have to secure residence and invite you to either attend one of our online seminars and/or book a private (not fee) consultation. The consultation is the mitty gritty where we share strategy, timelines, costs, risks, discuss your employability and so on with you. They last 60-90 minutes ordinarily hence the charge.

      Here is the link if you’d like to take the first cautious step. https://immigration.co.nz/assessments/free-evaluation

      Iain

    2. Post
      Author

      Hi

      The best advice I can offer before you get too deep into this is to take advantage of our (free) preliminary evaluation. We will identify what options you currently have to secure residence and invite you to either attend one of our online seminars and/or book a private (not fee) consultation. The consultation is the mitty gritty where we share strategy, timelines, costs, risks, discuss your employability and so on with you. They last 60-90 minutes ordinarily hence the charge.

      Here is the link if you’d like to take the first cautious step. https://immigration.co.nz/assessments/free-evaluation

      Iain

  7. I am a 62 years old man.I am qualified to teach accounting,economics ant business studies.I hold an MBA,a Master of commerce in accounting and a postgraduate certificate in education.I am interested in teaching in New Zealand.

    Charles Malasha

    1. Hi Charles

      Thanks for the enquiry. There are no age limits on temporary visas in New Zealand or Australia such as the accredited employer work visa (in the case of New Zealand). Just a word of caution, a work visa doesn’t entitle you to reside permanently in New Zealand but if you are single and form a relationship with a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident whilst working in New Zealand on your work visa this relationship could result in a resident visa application if it is a genuine, stable relationship likely to endure.

  8. Hi..am looking forward to work as a teacher aide…I have Diploma in Education level of education with 25 years of classroom management experience…
    I am from Fiji.
    Currently..am pursuing Associate Degree in Health Science..a online program..
    Looking forward to a positive feedback.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Shiu

      The best advice I can offer before you get too deep into this is to take advantage of our (free) preliminary evaluation. We will identify what options you currently have to secure residence and invite you to either attend one of our online seminars and/or book a private (not fee) consultation. The consultation is the mitty gritty where we share strategy, timelines, costs, risks, discuss your employability and so on with you. They last 60-90 minutes ordinarily hence the charge.

      Here is the link if you’d like to take the first cautious step. https://immigration.co.nz/assessments/free-evaluation

      Iain

  9. I am a trained primary school teacher. I have years experience. 7years in an international school.
    I am willing and ready to work in Australia or Newzaland . Please keep me updated. Thanks.

    1. Post
      Author
  10. I am a trained primary school teacher with ten years work experienced. Seven years in an international school . I am willing and ready to work in Australia or Newzaland. Please keep me updated. Thanks.

    1. Post
      Author
  11. I am a qualified teacher that holds a bachelors degree in Education and have been teaching for 20 years now. I would like to come and teach in New Zealand.

    1. Post
      Author
      1. Post
        Author
  12. Good day Iain. I was seriously hoping to emigrate to NZ, but after reading this eye opener, I am absolutely dumbstruck. Looks like teaching in SA and NZ are rocking their own boats unfortunately. It saddens me greatly, I was rally looking forward to the move to NZ.

    Thank you for the article, it is much appreciated.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Hansie

      This piece wasn’t designed to put you off, it was designed to ensure you tred carefully. All the teachers we have helped from SA have got jobs and gone on to secure residence.

      I am pleased though it made you pause and appreciate there is a degree of risk. That was my intention. I always warn everyone that just because a job is on the Green List does not guarantee success. It should if you follow our advice.

      Iain

  13. Hi Iain,
    I am 55 years old, a qualified English and geography teacher. My wife has national diploma in mechanical engineering and other business management qualifications. Any chances that both my wife and I have secured job.

    1. Post
      Author

      Dear Oral

      Thank you for your interest in a possible move to New Zealand.

      In terms of eligibility it is important to us, as much as it is to you, to ensure you have the skills and attributes that the New Zealand Government seeks as part of its temporary work and residence programmes.

      As we charge for a private consultation to work through strategies, timelines, costs and process we do not wish to take hard earned money off anyone if we do not feel confident we can provide a strategy.

      Therefore and as a piece of high level preliminary work we’d encourage you to complete the ‘free preliminary evaluation’ process so we can have a look at your background and satisfy ourselves you are a good candidate or not. If you are not we will tell you and it will have cost you nothing but time. We have built our company’s reputation for telling those interested in a move what they need to know and not what they want to hear. It has served us and our clients well over three decades leading to a visa success rate exceeding 99%.

      Please note we are not recruiters and cannot get you a job.

      I have provided a link below so you can complete one of our questionnaires and we would urge you to attach a current and accurate CV or CVs if you have a partner (only one questionnaire required per couple). Once we have reviewed the information against current policy setting we will advise you if we think you should proceed to the next step of a private consultation. The process shouldn’t take you more than 20-30 minutes and it is a critical first step.

      https://www.immigration.co.nz/assessments/free-evaluation/

      I look forward to offering you some feedback on taking things to the next stage.

    1. Thank you for your enquiry.

      I would suggest that you complete one of our preliminary questionnaires on the following page of our website https://www.immagine-immigration.com/assessments/free-evaluation/ and within 24 hours we will provide you with a free preliminary assessment report outlining your visa options and advising you whether it is worth your while proceeding to having a detailed consultation with us in order to discuss appropriate visas, the requirements to obtain these visas and your migration plan.

      I am a registered migration agent as far as Australia is concerned and a licensed immigration adviser for New Zealand and can assess your options with regard to migration to either or both countries. My licence numbers appear below in my auto signature. I have in excess of 32 years of work experience in the migration industry.

      The detailed consultation usually lasts 75 – 90 minutes and costs AU$350 and can be delivered via zoom/Skype. There is no obligation to proceed to having a detailed consultation once you complete our questionnaire.

      I look forward to receiving your completed questionnaire.

  14. I appreciate your information
    Am a teacher by profession l want to travel to Australia but l don’t know how to proceed in the process.
    I need help

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Eugene

      The first step in this process is to see if you have the skills and attributes the Government of Australia want. To that end I’d suggest you compete one of our preliminary evaluations. If we genuinely believe we can provide a strategy to achieve your immigration goal we will then suggest a (paid) private consultation so we can explain what the strategy(s) might be, timelines, risks, costs and so on.

      But first things first – here is the link: https://immigration.co.nz/assessments/free-evaluation/

      Iain

Image

Start your migration journey

Attend a FREE Seminar

Register Now

SHARE:

Start your migration journey

Attend a FREE Seminar

Register Now