Expat teachers offered serious cash bonuses to work in New Zealand

Published:  21 Aug at 6 PM
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New Zealand’s education minister is renewing a previously cancelled cash bonus scheme aimed at persuading expat teachers to fill Auckland’s desperate teaching shortages.

Education Minister Nicky Kaye announced the New Zealand government will invest a million dollars in total to persuade expatriate Kiwi teachers to return as well as to encourage fully trained teachers from overseas to take a chance on the country. Kiwi teachers in science and other subjects will receive cash grants of as much as $7,000, with schools recruiting the returnees being paid $3,000 as a finding fee.

Fully trained and experienced expat teachers will also be qualified to receive the bonuses if they fill vacancies in hard-to-staff schools, subjects or areas. Although full details of districts, subjects and schools have not yet been given out, the government office responsible for orchestrating the scheme is working on identifying the gaps in the numbers of teachers available for certain subjects through an analysis of applications received. Matching applicants to areas where shortages are dire will ensure vacancies are filled wherever possible.

Kaye’s predecessor axed a similar scheme in 2015 which rewarded returning Kiwi-trained teachers with a grant of up to $5,000 and up to $4,000 for overseas-trained teachers. Applicants could teach in any state as the scheme wasn’t limited to hard-to-fill positions or specific subjects. Kaye is aware the revival of the scheme would bring windfalls to expatriate Kiwi teachers already considering returning home, but insists persuading even 10 per cent of teachers working overseas would produce results in New Zealand’s classrooms.

She’s also open to admitting the scheme, if initially successful, might need to be widened, saying that should more funds be needed, they will be provided. According to Educational Personnel recruitment manager Kevin Bush, the scheme is welcome, but may well need to be expanded as, for example, 50 per cent of Auckland’s primary schools are desperate to recruit at least 80 teachers in total.
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