English Language Requirements

Principal applicants of resident visa applications and their partners and dependent children aged 16 and older are required to meet a minimum standard of English.

The required minimum standards are different for principal applicants and for family members, and vary from one visa policy to another.

 

Required level of English for Skilled Migrant Category applicants:

Principal applicants meet the minimum standard of English if

  • they can provide an IELTS certificate showing an overall band score of at least 6.5 in the General or Academic Module,
  • their recognised qualification was taught entirely in English,
  • they have been employed in skilled employment in New Zealand for at least 12 months or
  • otherwise meet the minimum standard.

Partners and Children aged 16 and over meet the minimum standard of English if

  • they can provide an IELTS certificate showing an overall band score of at least 5 in the General or Academic Module,
  • their recognised qualification was taught entirely in English,
  • they have been employed in skilled employment in New Zealand for at least 12 months,
  • they have an English speaking background or
  • otherwise meet the minimum standard.

 

 Indications that somebody might be considered a competent user of English may include but are not limited to

  •  the country in which the applicant currently resides;
  •  the country(ies) in which the applicant has previously resided;
  • the duration of residence in each country;
  • whether the applicant speaks any language other than English;
  • whether members of the applicant's family speak English;
  • whether members of the applicant's family speak any language other than English;
  • the nature of the applicant's current or previous employment (if any) and whether that is or was likely to require skill in English language;
  • the nature of the applicant's qualifications (if any) and whether the obtaining of those qualifications was likely to require skill in the English language.

In any case a visa or immigration officer may require an applicant to provide an IELTS certificate to determine whether the applicant or family members meet the minimum standard of English.

 

Required level of English for Business and Investor Migrants: 

Applicants under the Investor, Entrepreneur or Employees of Relocating Business categories will need to meet a different minimum standard of English.

Principal applicants meet the minimum standard of English if

  • they can provide an IELTS certificate showing an overall band score of at least 5 in the General or Academic Module,
  • they have an English speaking background
  • they otherwise meet the minimum standard.

Partners and children aged 16 and over will be able to purchase ESOL tuition.

In some cases partners and children are not required to meet the minimum level of English at the time the visa application is lodged, but can provide the evidence at a later stage.

 

Pre-purchase of ESOL tuition

Instead of meeting the minimum standard of English, non-principal applicants may pre-purchase ESOL tuition.

ESOL tuition must be pre-purchased  by paying the required charge to Immigration New Zealand, who collect this charge on behalf of the Tertiary Education Commission, TEC.

The amount of ESOL tuition to be purchased will be determined by the average IELTS score. It ranges from NZ$1,735 to 6,795. If the applicant has not submitted IELTS test results, the maximum charge applies.

Applicants must pay any ESOL charge before a resident visa is granted.

 

If you think that you might have difficulties demonstrating that you or any family members meet the required level of English, please talk to one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers. They will know whether you will have to provide an IELTS test result or might be able to pre-purchase ESOL tuition.

Ask our Licensed Immigration Adviser

If you want to find out more about obtaining the right visa for New Zealand, contact Julia Cooke, Licensed Immigration Adviser at NZIC.

Ask Julia for a Free Assessment