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Minimum English Language Requirements

You will have to state your English language command in your Expression of Interest. Immigration New Zealand will require confirmation of the required minimum standard of English to invite you to apply for residence.

You will have to state your English language command in your Expression of Interest. Immigration New Zealand will require confirmation of the required minimum standard of English to invite you to apply for residence.

The required level of English for principal applicants 

Principal applicants meet the minimum standard of English under Skilled Migrant Category if they can provide one of the following: 

  • an acceptable English language test result. Minimum scores for each type oftest are shown below:

  • evidence of citizenship in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom (UK) or the United States of America(USA), and evidence of having spent at least five years working or studying in those countries, or in Australia or New Zealand;
  • evidence of a recognised qualification gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK or the USA. The qualification must be comparable to a New Zealand bachelor’s degree. You must have studied for at least two years in any of those countries to get that qualification;
  • evidence of a recognised qualification gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK or the USA. The qualification must be comparable to a postgraduate New Zealand qualification. You must have studied for at least one year in any of those countries to get that qualification.

  

The English language requirements for family members

Partners and Children aged 16 and over can either meet the requirements above or pre-purchase English tuition, ESOL.

Please note that the acceptable level of English language is lower for partners and children than it is for the principal applicant:

Children under 16 do not have to meet English language requirements.

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 NZ$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.

Please note 

The minimum English language requirements vary from one visa type to another. 

Look up the required minimum English language levels for other visa types.

Go back to our QuickSelf-Check Guide to find out if you qualify.

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