English Language Requirements
The majority of migrants with professional,
tertiary or trade qualifications apply for
residence under the General Skills Category
as applying for residence under this category
is quicker, more cost effective and the outcome
more predictable than applying for residence
under the Business Categories.
The General Skills Category uses a `points-based
system' to determine an applicant's eligibility
The "Principal Applicant" (the
main applicant) must meet the "passmark"
as set by the New Zealand Immigration Service
The passmark may change on a weekly basis.
The passmark had remained static at 25 points
for several years but on 1 November 1999
the passmark was reduced to 24 points in
an attempt by the New Zealand Government
to attract more migrants.
Also since March 2000 the General Skills
Category policy has become more flexible
so that if you are awarded between 19 to
23 points (inclusive) you will be issued
with a 6-month work visa (or work permit
if you are already in New Zealand) to enable
you to come to New Zealand and obtain a job
offer for which you will be awarded 5 additional
points and thereby residence.
Points are awarded for the Principal Applicant's
age, qualifications (& spouse's qualifications),
work experience, job offer, settlement funds
and family sponsorship.
We have summarised this points system in
a Points Table.
Allocation of points under General Skills
Category is structured so that the majority
of applicants aged in their 20's to early
30's applying for residence under this category
will need a New Zealand job offer in order
to meet the passmark.
The Principal Applicant must also have an
English language background or pass the
International English Language Testing System
(IELTS) test in order to be considered for residence.
Please refer to Qualifications to see if your profession requires compulsory
registration in New Zealand before you can
apply for residence and for NZIS policy regarding
NZIS are taking 6 to 12 months to process
offshore General Skills Category applications.
Depending on the complexity of your application
NZIS are taking 3 to 9 months to process
applications lodged within New Zealand.
As our New Zealand associates are members
of the New Zealand Association for Migration
& Investment ('NZAMI') we have access
to the fast-track service offered by NZIS
Christchurch should you wish to lodge your
residence application whilst you are in New
Zealand. Contact us before you leave for New Zealand to make
arrangements to use this service.
This exclusive fast-track service cuts the
processing time for your General Skills Category
residence application to just one month and
to just one week or less for your Family
Category application (processing times may
differ depending on the particulars of each
application & NZIS work load).
Applicants must attain a minimum of ten points
for qualifications to be
approved under this
Qualification(s) acceptable to NZIS
10 - 12
|Additional 2 points for a qualification that
is recognised for points,
except a qualification
gained with NZODA assistance
Applicants must attain a minimum of one point
for work experience to
be approved under
this category unless they
have a NZ qualification
Offer of Employment
If you have a job offer (the job does not
need to be relevant to
then your work experience
does not need to
be relevant to your qualification.
18 - 24 years
25 - 29 years
30 - 34 years
35 - 39 years
40 - 44 years
45 - 49 years
50 - 55 years
Principal applicants aged
56 years and older
cannot apply under this
Maximum points for settlement factors
$ 100 000
$ 200 000
Qualification(s) acceptable to NZIS
Sponsorship by a close family member
New Zealand Work Experience
1 - 2
English Language Requirements
International English Language Testing System
If you are the Principal Applicant and do
not have an 'English language background'
then you must show a minimum band score of
5 for each of the four components of the
IELTS General Module.
Please note: The Minister of Immigration
has recently announced that as from 1 July
2001 the English language requirements will
be relaxed. From that date an applicant will
only be required to have a average band score
of 5 across all of the 4 components e.g.
an applicant who scores 4,5,5,6 will meet
the new English language requirements.
IELTS was developed by the Australian authorities
in conjunction with Cambridge University
as a means to assess a person's English language
ability. If you obtain a Level 5 pass then
you will be considered as a 'moderate user'
of English. In comparison to enter university
in New Zealand an applicant must gain a Level
7 pass in the more difficult Academic Module
of the test.
The General Module test consists of four
(i) Listening (30 minutes)
(ii) General training reading (60 minutes)
(iii) General training writing (60 minutes)
(iv) Speaking (10 - 15 minutes)
A brief outline of what to expect in the
speaking module is as follows:
Phase 1: You introduce yourself (1 - 2 minutes)
Phase 2: Extended discourse (3 - 4 minutes)
- In which, for example you could talk about
your family life or a topic such as travelling
by air, style of architecture in your home
Phase 3: Elicitation (3 - 4 minutes) - During
this phase the examiner would elicit information
from you, such as your likes and dislikes,
your opinions, attitudes and values
Phase 4: Speculation and attitudes (3 - 4
minutes) - During this time you would be
encouraged to speak about academic and vocational
interests and talk about future plans
Phase 5: Conclusion (1 minute) - Interview
would be concluded.
In New Zealand you can sit the IELTS test
at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland
and also at the University of Auckland.
If you are overseas you should contact the
nearest branch of the British Council who
will arrange an IELTS test for you.
On the 30 November 1998 the New Zealand Immigration
Service (NZIS) abolished the NZ$20,000.00
English language bond.
Non-Principal Applicants applying for residence
under the General Skills Category (i.e. partners
and dependant children 16 years and over)
who do not meet the English language background
or obtain a minimum band score of 5 for each
of the four components of the IELTS General
Module can now qualify for residence by pre-purchasing
English language training (English for speakers
of other languages- 'ESOL').
Training costs NZ$1,700 to NZ$6,650 depending
on English language ability and must be completed
within 3 years (or 3 1/2 years if paid offshore)
otherwise the costs are forfeited to the
The English language requirements for Principal
Applicants applying under the General Skills
Category remains the same (see above) i.e.
if the Principal Applicant does not pass
the IELTS test then the application cannot
Work Permit Holders
Work Permit holders who qualify for residence
on all other grounds (i.e. have an acceptable
qualification and enough points to meet the
automatic pass mark) and are currently employed
and the language of employment is English
and the employment is relevant to the qualification
for which points are awarded and have been
in New Zealand for one year can now qualify
by pre-purchasing ESOL training (i.e. they
do not have to pass IELTS).
English Speaking Background
Here are some examples of an acceptable English
Completed all primary education and at least
three years of secondary education at schools
using English as the medium of instruction;
Completed at least five years of secondary
education at schools using English as the
medium of instruction.
Completed a course of at least three years
duration leading to the award of a tertiary
qualification at institutions using English
as the medium of instruction.
If you are applying for New Zealand residence
as the Principal Applicant under the General
Skills Category you must have a qualification
and it must be acceptable to the New Zealand
Immigration Service (NZIS).
(Professional Sports Coaches, Ministers of
Religion and Information Technology (IT)
Specialists please refer to the relevant
The following is a summary of the qualifications
acceptable to NZIS:
Qualifications Table & List of Recognised
The Principal Applicant must obtain a minimum
of 10 points to be considered for residence
under the General Skills Category.
A qualification will be awarded points if
the qualification occupies a category and
level on the NZIS Qualifications Table or if the Principal Applicant has been awarded
full or provisional registration by a New
Zealand organisation required by law to give
occupational registration (such as registration
as a teacher) and the registration involves
an assessment that their overseas qualification
is comparable to a New Zealand qualification
that is included on the List of Recognised
If the institution that issued your qualification
is not listed in List of Recognised Qualifications or you are not registered as described above
then you must have your qualification assessed
by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
Your application cannot be lodged until NZQA
have issued either an Interim Assessment
Report or a Qualifications Assessment Report
or you are registered in New Zealand in your
profession as described above.
New Zealand Qualifications
If you who have an acceptable New Zealand
qualification will receive two additional
points. To qualify for additional points
applicants must not have received NZODA funding.
Spouse or Partner's Qualification
You will be awarded up to two additional
points for an acceptable spouse qualification.
If you are claiming points for a qualification
in an occupation for which registration is
required by law in New Zealand then you must
1. Acceptable evidence of probationary/full
New Zealand registration; or
2. An offer of employment (for which points
have been awarded), in an occupation that:
(a) does not require registration;
(b) is assessed as relevant
to the qualification for which points are
The following are examples of occupations
where compulsory registration is required:
Architects, Chiropractors, Clinical Dental
Technicians, Dental Technicians, Dentists,
Dieticians, Electricians, Electrical Service
Technician, Environmental Health Officers,
Lawyers, Line Mechanics, Medical Laboratory
Technologists, Medical Practitioners, Medical
Radiation Technologists, Midwives, Nurses,
Enrolled Nurses, Occupational Therapists,
Optometrists, Dispensing Opticians, Pharmacists,
Physiotherapists, Plumbers, Gas Fitters and
Drainlayers, Podiatrists, Psychologist (only
if you are employed in state services or
in a licensed institution under the Medical
Health Act), Real Estate Agents, Teachers,
You can only obtain points for one of your
qualifications i.e. if you have a Masters
degree you will obtain 12 points only and
not 10 points for your Bachelors degree as
Professional Sports Coaches, Ministers of
Religion and Information Technology
It is not essential for you to have a qualification
occupying a category and level on the Qualifications Table in order to apply for residency under the
General Skills Category if you are from one
of the above professions.
However you should have some sort of qualification
relevant to your profession, have relevant
work experience and have a relevant New Zealand