Application for Registration Questions
How do I apply for social work registration?
You first need to check your eligibility by answering a couple of questions about your social work qualification. Once you have checked your eligibility, you then complete the online application process, at the end of the process you will be emailed a list of documents you need to send through to the SWRB office for processing.
If I send in my application documents tomorrow, how long before I get registered?
Your application must be completed before it can go forward to the Board for approval. We say to allow a minimum of 12-14 weeks prior to a Board meeting for processing time. Other timeframes to consider are, Competence Assessments are sent out every Friday to our external assessors who have 2 weeks to assess and return them to us. If you are required to submit further information, this timeframe will be longer. It also takes 20 working days for New Zealand Police to release results to us. Sometimes this can take longer. This is out of our control.
Why do you need to see my birth certificate and evidence of change of name?
As part of the application process we need to see all the name that you use, including the name that you were born under, so we may carry out our checks correctly. Declaring all names and providing this evidence assists us with processing your application quickly. Unfortunately, just providing your passport does not show us this information.
I don't have my birth certificate, can I just send you a copy my passport?
Unfortunately no, we do require a certified copy of your birth certificate as we need to see the name that you were born under and to see if this has changed. If your name has changed, we do need to see evidence of your name change.
What is a certified document?
Certification of a document refers to a copy of an original document that has been certified as a true copy of the original by a legal practitioner or person legally authorised to notarise or certify the authenticity of copies of documents in either New Zealand or an applicant’s country of origin. Each page of the document/s must be signed and dated. We need to receive the copy that has the original signature of the person that has certified your documents (do not send original documents).
I have an overseas social work qualification, can I apply for registration?
If you were educated overseas are seeking registration as a social worker in New Zealand and your qualification is not recognised under the mutual agreement with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), a non-binding assessment of your overseas qualification is required before you apply for registration.
The non-binding assessment will inform you whether your qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard of qualifications required for registration in New Zealand.
If your non-binding assessment deems your qualification as equivalent to that of a NZ recognised social work qualification, an online application for registration is available and will need to be completed for those seeking registration. The results of a non-binding assessment does not guarantee registration.
What is 2000 hours of supervised social work practice in New Zealand?
This is equivalent to one year of full time social work practice in New Zealand. Hours can be counted from the time you complete your qualification. Overseas practice does not count toward the 2000 hours requirement. You can remain provisionally registered for up to eight years whilst you complete your 2000 hours of supervised practice.
If I don't hold a social work qualification, can I still apply for social work registration?
If you have been working as a social worker for a number of years, you may be eligible to apply under section 13. Click here for more details.
What is an official academic transcript?
These are the results and details of the individual subjects you took to complete your social work qualification. You need to submit the official transcript for each year of your qualification. If you completed your qualification before 2005 and no longer have a record of your transcript you do not need to submit one.
What is recognised prior learning (RPL)/cross credit and why have I been asked to supply this?
Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) is a system of formally recognising skills and knowledge you have acquired from informal learning, or, may refer to qualifications that were completed over one or more institutes.
What can be a hold up with my application?
Sometimes sections of the application have not been completed correctly leading to wrong documents being requested or not all required documents being requested, this can delay the processing of an application. If you have any queries regarding any of the sections please contact us. We also advised that you do not put in ‘refer to my CV’ this will be sent back to you to be completed correctly.
How long will it take to get my registration?
Unfortunately we can’t give a timeframe on this process as all applications are different. Sometimes we request further information from the applicants. Sometimes the NZ Police delay the release of results.
I want to apply for provisional registration, what do I need to do?
The online registration process is the same for everyone applying to become a registered social worker in New Zealand. By answering the questions on the application process you will be advise at the end of the process what documents you need to send through to the SWRB office for processing.
I'm not currently working in a social work position, can I still apply?
Yes you can. If you hold a recognised social work qualification and wish to become registered you can apply.
Registered Social Workers Questions
Does my supervisor need to be a Registered Social Worker?
Not necessarily but it does depend on the type of registration you hold. For example, if you are NZ qualified and/or hold a full competence certificate then your supervisor does not have to be registered. It is however, the SWRBs preference that supervisors of registered social workers are registered, and should have completed training in professional supervision, however it is not a requirement.
The main criteria is that supervisors should be able to assist practitioners with the stated functions of supervision, and these generally are considered to be the:
Administrative, Educational and Supportive functions of the supervisory process.
There are many articles available on the internet, and from an Aotearoa New Zealand perspective in the ANZASW journals, which elaborate on the purposes and processes of supervision.
Registered social workers should have a supervision contract in place with their supervisors.
How often should I have supervision?
The SWRB has a “Supervision Expectations for Registered Social Workers” Policy available on our website. This can be found under “About us; Policies”
The Boards expectation is that “…practitioners will access regular and appropriate supervision at least monthly and in a manner that is consistent with reasonable expectations of the levels of skill and practice ability of the individual’.
What is the difference between ANZASW and SWRB?
ANZASW is the professional Association for Social Workers in Aotearoa New Zealand. They are a membership organisation run for and by their members.
How do I come off the register- can I just say I want to?
Any Social Worker can apply to come off the Register whenever then choose to, as long as no disciplinary proceedings are underway.
You can make a written request to the Board who will then consider your request. If you are changing careers and will not be working as a social worker it is very straightforward. The key question that the Board will ask is whether the person is intending to continue practising social work or not.
If there is uncertainty about whether you will still be practising the Board will draw on a range of factors including:
- What is the new job description and are there significant overlaps that are relevant to working as a social worker?
- To what extent does the job description fall under the current scope of practice?
- What are other indicators of whether you could be perceived as practising social work (such as receiving supervision, ANZASW membership, whether you will be required to do continuing professional development in a similar way)?
- How does this compare to Tribunal decisions (it is the Tribunal who have developed the case law about what social work looks like in practise, that the Board then apply)?
If you are not intending to continue practising social work, as an alternative you may prefer to just notify the Board that you wish to be shown as non-practising (which is a similar process but does not require a Board decision). There is no fee involved to remain on the Register as ‘non practising’. If you think you may want to practise again in the future, this may be a better approach, as you will not have to pay to apply for registration again.
The underlying principle is that if you continue to practise social work then you are required to hold a practising certificate. Under our legislation the Social Workers Registration Board is charged with the public’s safety by implementing a registration framework to ensure that social workers are competent to practise and held accountable for their practice – which is why the question of whether you are practising or not is at the heart of the decision making of the Board, in terms of coming off the Register.
What do I need to do to move from provisional to full registration?
If you are provisionally registered with Graduate Competence, your competence certificate will have one of two expiry dates. Either 30 November or 30 June. This depends on when you completed your qualification. Or
You might be provisional registered and need to complete your social work qualification. You must completed your qualification within 8 years of being registered.
You must complete 2000 hours of New Zealand supervised practice. You can remain provisional registered up to 8 years whilst you complete your hours.