I'm trying to apply for a Skilled Migrant visa in New Zealand. I was baffled by the fact that German university degrees seem to be exempt from NZQA assessment if awarded under the old Magister/Diplom scheme, but not under the new, Europe-wide Bologna scheme of Bachelor/Master degrees. This is according to https://www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual/#46248.htm

I find that hard to believe, to be honest. The document also states that all qualifications after 2017 must be referred to assessment, which leaves a gap of several years between the start of Bologna and that date.

Does anybody have any in-depth knowledge or experience regarding this? Is that a mistake in the document, or are the Bologna degrees indeed considered inferior for immigration purposes?

  • This mostly sound like a tightening of the rules. They probably left the earlier degrees alone, not because they consider them superior but because it's easier that way (for example you avoid introducing a difference of treatment between people with the same degree or the need to reevaluate decisions granted earlier) and they were becoming less and less relevant as time passes.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 8 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


Actually, if you look at the table below, you will see that only some institutions are included and only for specific years. For most of them, degrees awarded after 2010 are not recognised. Some stopped being recognised even earlier than that, a handful were recognised until 2012 or 2014 and exactly two until 2016. If I recall correctly, this was also the time when all these new degrees were being created and the gap would have been very short, if there was any gap at all.

If you check the entries for other European countries, you will see similar changes, even for those that already awarded degrees that fit nicely into the Bologna 3-5-8 framework (e.g. the Netherlands).

Clearly, the system was being phased out in favor of this International Qualifications Assessment by NZQA and New Zealand had no reason to bother with evaluating and including degrees awarded under the new system if they already planned to do away with these exemptions entirely. In that context, 2017 is just a generic cut-off to make things easier for the reader as the last recognised diploma in the table is from 2016.

Bottom line is that International Qualifications Assessment is the rule now. In practice, if you obtained your degree recently, you don't really need to worry about the exemptions anymore, they are on their way out and becoming less and less relevant. A careful reading of the manual reveals that this is not an oversight or mistake but a clear and deliberate policy.

Speculating a bit, I suspect older degrees may have been recognised under some bilateral agreements or earlier decisions New Zealand was keen on phasing out as their NZ Qualifications Framework was coming into force. I haven't found any explicit reference to that but if that's the case, the switch to the new degrees might have been an occasion to let these rules lapse. That would account for the seemingly random dates for the recognition of specific diplomas from multiple countries.

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