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Prepare for a tougher New Zealand Visa Language Test

The New Zealand government has recently toughened its English language requirements for residency. Visa and Residency applicants would be well advised to ensure that their command of the English language is proven and practices.

Prepare For A Tougher New Zealand Visa Language Test

I reaction to the news critics have said that thousands of skilled immigrants will now not be making the cut because they are unprepared.


“Thousands of migrants to NZ would never pass,” commented the industry in reaction to the news.

On the flipside, migrants with proven English Language skills will now have an advantageous over competition.

Reports state that the language test should not be taken likely and while many skilled migrants would not pass the test many Kiwis would not make the grade either.

The changes were brought in in October, with the English test results now making up a larger proportion of the overall score. The test has come under fire by employers and even the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Matt Robson, a former lawyer and associate.

Robson publicly said that the test is too hard for those who want to work in manual jobs, such as chefs, bakers or labourers.

He said the changes should never have been made.

"There are thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of migrants to New Zealand who would never pass these tests, but have built businesses, have built careers, have fitted well into their community," he said.

The Government said the public expect new residents will have an acceptable level of English, and that anyone who is competent in the language should be able to pass these tests.

Evidence of an English-speaking background can include:

• certificates showing you were taught in English for all the years you were at primary school and for at least 3 years of secondary school
• certificates showing you were taught in English for 5 years at secondary school
• a tertiary qualification that was taught in English, which took 3 or more years to complete
• if you’ve been working in New Zealand for 12 months or more, a copy of your employment agreement and/or references from your employer (Business visas only)
• certificates showing you have a qualification listed in our ‘English Language Information’ leaflet.
Or, if you are applying under the Parent Category, Residence From Work categories, or Business categories you may be able to show us that you’re a competent user of English for other reasons, including:
• English is the only language you speak
• the country you live in now or any countries you’ve lived in before are English-speaking
• how long you’ve lived in any English-speaking countries
• your family speaks no language other than English
• your family speaks English
• you have to speak English for your work either now or in the past.

The following English language test results are acceptable for principal applicants under the Skilled Migrant Category.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - General or Academic Module
Overall score of 6.5 or more


Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)
Overall score of 79 or more


Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
Overall score of 58 or more


Cambridge English: First (FCE) and Cambridge English: First (FCE) for Schools
Overall score of 176 or more



Occupational English Test (OET)
Grade B or higher in all four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking)

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