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From 12 October, all applicants will need to have an IELTS unless they studied level 7 or above qualification in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, UK or USA.

The minimum English language requirement is IELTS with overall score of 6.5

Prior to the 12 October change, immigration officers could also consider a variety of alternative pieces of evidence of English language ability. From now on, only the following options are acceptable:

  • citizenship of Canada, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America provided the applicant has spent at least five years in work or education in one or more of those countries or Australia or New Zealand; or
  • a recognised qualification comparable to a New Zealand level 7 bachelor’s degree and gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America as a result of study undertaken for at least two academic years in one or more of those countries; or
  • a recognised qualification comparable to a New Zealand qualification at level 8 or above and gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America as a result of study undertaken for at least one academic year in one or more of those countries.

From 21 November 2016, Immigration New Zealand will accept a wider range of English language tests.

The new tests that INZ will accept are:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Cambridge English: First (FCE) and FCE for Schools
  • Pearson Test of English: Academic (PTE: Academic)