Non-domestic learner eligibility for funded work-based learning at Levels 1–7

Non-domestic learner eligibility for funded work-based learning at Levels 1–7

Last updated 17 May 2024
Last updated 17 May 2024

This page sets out the eligibility criteria for non-domestic learners to qualify for Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding for work-based learning.

2023 Reform of Vocational Education changes to non-domestic learner eligibility

Before 2023, all individuals working legally in New Zealand and enrolled in work-based learning (including non-resident workers) were eligible for TEC funding under the Industry Training Fund.

From 1 January 2023, non-domestic learners need to meet a new set of criteria to be eligible for TEC funding.

The policy change was part of the Reform of Vocational Education. It aims to support the Government’s objectives of:

  • achieving a higher skilled migrant workforce with the right skill mix to support New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19, and
  • transitioning to a more productive and sustainable economy.

To align with these objectives, some limits have been put in place on funded work-based learning for non-resident workers. This means fewer non-resident workers are eligible for TEC funding under the updated policy settings.

New eligibility requirements for non-resident workers

The eligibility requirements for non-domestic learners, including non-resident workers, are listed in the Tertiary Education (Domestic Students) Notice 2022 (the Notice). The information on this web page relates only to clause 2(g) of this Notice.

For a non-domestic learner to be eligible for TEC funding, they must:

  1. Hold an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

Only AEWV holders are eligible for TEC funding, provided they also meet the other criteria. No other holiday or work visa types are eligible.

  1. Work in an occupation specified on the Immigration New Zealand “Green List” or within the scope of a sector agreement

This criterion reflects the national interest, which is the result of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE’s) Immigration Rebalance Policy (PDF 380 KB). The intent is to support a higher-skilled workforce of non-resident workers coming to New Zealand. This is based on labour market needs and the national interest for specific occupations.

Find what occupations are on the “Green List” at:

Green List roles – Immigration New Zealand

Find more about sector agreements – and the list of sectors with sector agreements in place – at:

Sector agreements and hiring migrants on an AEWV – Immigration New Zealand

Find what occupations are in the scope of a sector agreement at:  

AEWV roles exempt from paying the median wage | Immigration New Zealand

Note: This search tool also includes sectors with wage exemptions, which are unique from sector agreements. You must choose a sector with a current sector agreement. To do this, use the ‘search for roles’ tool near the bottom of the page. Choose the sector name from the drop-down filter, click ‘search’, and the occupations in that sector agreement will display below.

  1. Enrol in a programme listed by the TEC

For programmes eligible for TEC funding for non-resident workers, see list of funded programmes for non-domestic learners (XLSX 54 KB).

This list may change in response to policy, immigration, and programme changes.

  1. Enrol in a work-based learning programme

The non-domestic learner must enrol in a programme in the work-based mode of delivery under the Delivery at Levels 3–7 (non-degree) on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework and all industry training (DQ3-7) Fund. DQ3-7 also includes work-based learning provision at Levels 1 and 2.

Non-domestic learners enrolled in work-based learning before 1 January 2023

Any non-domestic learner enrolled in work-based learning before 1 January 2023 is still eligible for TEC funding until they complete their programme of training. This is because they started their training under the previous policy settings.

If the learner changes employers but continues on the same programme, they will remain eligible for TEC funding.

However, if the learner withdraws from or changes their programme, any new enrolment will be subject to the eligibility criteria in place at the time they enrol.

Non-domestic learners who do not meet the eligibility criteria

Non-domestic learners who do not meet eligibility criteria for TEC funding will still be able to access both provider-based and work-based learning. However, international fees may apply, and the enrolment will be at the tertiary education organisation’s (TEO’s) discretion.

Eligibility for Fees Free

Non-domestic learners who are eligible for TEC funding for work-based learning, as outlined above, are treated as domestic learners, so they may be eligible for Fees Free. For a complete list of the Fees Free eligibility criteria, see Eligibility criteria – Fees Free.

How is the TEC list of eligible programmes compiled?

TEC produces the list of eligible work-based programmes based on skills strategy advice from Workforce Development Councils (WDCs). WDCs provide this advice for occupations on Immigration New Zealand’s “Green List” or sector agreements. It covers:

  • qualifications related to the listed occupations,
  • skills supply for domestic students (for example, if the skills supply is weak and the plan to improve it), and
  • a timetable to move away from reliance on public subsidies for training temporary visa holders.

We assess the skills strategy advice against the overall available funding and alignment with the strategic priorities in the Tertiary Education Strategy. We then generate a list of programmes eligible for TEC funding. The list of programmes is separate from, but stems from, the “Green List”.

If a TEO or employer believes their work-based learning programme should be included in the list, they may contact the appropriate WDC to ask for a review. WDCs communicate with Immigration New Zealand on any adjustments to the “Green List” or sector agreements. Immigration New Zealand is part of MBIE.