Requirements for overseas applicants

To work in New Zealand as an electrician or other electrical worker, you need to gain a New Zealand registration and a practising licence.

The Electrical Workers Registration Board is the organisation you apply to, to get registered and licensed.

The EWRB has established the following Classes of registration to ensure any prescribed electrical work is done by a person competent in that field:

E - Electrician - is able to do all prescribed electrical work except inspection.

EE - Electrical Engineer - is currently able to do the same as an electrician but in future may be limited to the area of work in which they have gained their degree.

EI - Electrical Installer - is limited to wiring and equipment installation in the field they have gained experience (ie heat pumps, lifts, alarm systems).

EST - Electrical Service Technician - limited to maintenance and servicing only, though can disconnect and reconnect from a power supply.

EASQ - Electrical Appliance Serviceperson (endorsed to disconnect and reconnect) - limited to maintenance and servicing of 250V, single phase equipment disconnecting/reconnecting from a pcu.

EAS - Electrical Appliance Serviceperson - limited to maintenance and servicing of 250V, single phase, plug in equipment.

LM - Line Mechanic - Transmission lines
                              - Distribution supply
                              - Traction supply
CJ - Cable Jointer


If your experience is in any of the areas above and you can provide proof of that experience (in the form of references – see below) the Board will accept your application for registration and advise you as to the requirements you have to meet in order to gain full registration.

Check out Requirements by class and view the “Time based Pathway” for the class of registration that best meets your experience. Note the type and duration of experience required for registration.

In the classes of Electrician and Electrical Engineer certain overseas qualifications can gain you exemption from some of those requirements (examinations and practical assessments). This does not apply in any of the other classes.

Australian electrical workers

If you have an Australian licence, your application is processed in accordance with the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (TTMRA).

Find out more

Please note that only Australian Licences are recognised, not Australian qualifications.

Assessment towards registration

To obtain an assessment of work experience and qualifications an Overseas Registration Application form [PDF, 121 KB] must be completed and the associated fee of $350.00 received with your documents. Please send to the Electrical Workers Registration Board, PO Box 10156, Wellington, New Zealand.

All payments made outside the New Zealand banking system should be made by credit card. We accept Mastercard, Visa and American Express.

The following must accompany this application:

  1. Proof of your identity (for example a certified copy of your passport name page).

  2. Detailed references that show us that you have had sufficient experience in the area in which you are seeking registration (certified copies preferred). These references should be on letterhead and signed by your supervisor or employer. We are looking for proof that the type of experience you have had matches our requirements. A role as an Electrical Engineer or Electrical Technician, for example, can mean many different things in different countries so we need to have your role “spelled out” to us, so that we can tell that your experience is suitable for registration. Position descriptions are acceptable IF they are a part of that reference and are referred to in that reference and show that you personally performed those duties.

  3. Any qualifications that match those we specify in our overseas manual.
    See below and check out list of countries at the bottom of this page.

  4. If you have a qualification that is equivalent to one in our manual (but is not specified in the manual) we will be able to accept it if the qualification is accompanied by a letter, from the issuing body of your qualification, stating that your qualification is equivalent to that specified in our manual.

  5. Your application must not exceed 20 pages of single-sided documents. Exceptions can be approved where documents have translations attached.

We do NOT need character references, minor qualifications (gained prior to your main qualification), Transcripts and certificates of attendance at upskilling courses. These may be of interest to employers but have no bearing on the assessment process.

Your qualifications and experience will be assessed against the criteria for registration and must meet the rules of the Electrical Workers Registration Board with regard to Proof of Identity and Authentication of Overseas Documents [PDF, 31 KB].

If you provide copies of documents, you need to have these certified by a person who is authorised to administer oaths and declarations under the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957. A Justice of the Peace (JP) is an example of an authorised person.

If details on the copy are not clear, or there is doubt about its authenticity, we may ask you for original documents. We will return all original documents to you once we have made a decision on your application.

If the information on your qualification, certificate, registration or licence is not in English, you must include a certified English translation.

Qualification recognition

Check the overseas policy and procedures manual [PDF, 652 KB] to see if your qualification is recognised in New Zealand.

The manual provides information for assessment of overseas qualifications and experience, including:

  • Title and description of the licence/certificate (from the recognised country).
  • Equivalence to New Zealand requirements.
  • New Zealand registration requirements that are additional to the overseas qualifications and experience already gained.

The manual applies to qualifications, certificates, registration or licences from recognised countries.

What happens next?

We send you a letter which tells you what you need to do to get registered and licensed, if you are exempted from any requirements, and what further requirements you still need to meet. For example, to work as an electrician you will always need to complete New Zealand safety training and an examination about electrical regulations.

If your experience is suitable/sufficient we will offer you a Limited Certificate. This allows you to work in New Zealand under supervision, while studying or working towards full registration.

If only some of your experience is suitable we may still offer you a Limited Certificate with the condition that you complete the remaining required hours in New Zealand. For overseas applicants this includes:

  • a person who, in order to obtain registration, is required to complete certain examinations;
  • a person who, in order to obtain registration, is required to complete certain work experience.

Applying for a Limited Certificate will require a suitably New Zealand licensed Supervisor who countersigns the application form.

During the life of the Limited Certificate (usually 12 months) you are required to complete the necessary courses, examinations and practical assessments. A list of Approved Training Providers is on our website and they can advise you when the next courses are running for both examinations and practical assessments.

If you meet the criteria for a Provisional Licence this will also be offered at this time. This allows a person with the appropriate experience and qualifications for exemption, from the electrician’s theory examination and Stages 1 & 2 of the Electrician’s Practical Assessments, to work unsupervised in New Zealand for up to 6 months while they meet the requirements for full registration. You must complete full safety instruction of safe working practices, testing, basic first aid and CPR here in New Zealand from an approved Provider before we will issue a Provisional Licence.

If you are offered both options, your own particular circumstances regarding where you are residing, immigration requirements, job offers etc will determine which option works best for you.

To complete registration

Once you have completed the requirements for registration you will need to apply for completion and the issuing of a Practising Licence. Use the same application as before (1.4) and this time only pay the pro-rata practising licence fee (and certificate fee of $57 if you want one as well – this is optional). The practising licence fee changes each month as it nears the end of the practising licence round. If you haven’t supplied a photo earlier you should send in one at this point as well, as practising licence cards must have photos. Make sure your safety training is up-to-date if it has been some time since you did the training for your Limited Certificate.

The manual provides details relating to certificates from the following countries:

  • CHINA (For guidance only)
  • EIRE
  • FIJI
  • PERU
  • VIETNAM (For guidance only)