International students who want to pursue higher education in New Zealand must first apply for an offer of a place to an education provider. There are three main types of education providers in New Zealand. These are Private Training Establishment (PTE), New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) formerly known as Institutes of Technology & Polytechnics (ITPs), and University. Study programmes designed for international students are regulated within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is responsible for quality assuring all courses and tertiary education organisations other than universities. The Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) and the Academic Quality Agency (AQA) have delegated authority for quality assurance of university education.
For PTE, and NZIST the NZQA sets English language entry requirements for international students through the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018 and the Training Scheme Rules 2012. If the approved entry requirements for a specific programme are higher than those listed in Rule 18, the student must meet the higher level required by the provider. There is a range of evidence that providers can use to verify an international student’s English language proficiency.
All education providers are responsible for ensuring that the international students they enrol, have the required level of English language proficiency for the level at which they intend to study. Students can prove this by submitting evidence of an approved English language test or prior study in the English medium.
So, if you want to study in New Zealand, you’ll have to meet the English language entry requirements for international students.
There are several standardized English proficiency tests that education providers in New Zealand accept. They use it to verify an international student’s English language proficiency. The details are listed on the NZQA Website and mentioned in Rule 18.
NZQA has also provided a Table of English language proficiency outcomes for international students on their website, which sets out the approved test, and required outcomes. International students may use these tests as evidence of English language proficiency for international students who are enrolling in different levels of study programmes.
Every education provider has its baseline requirements as per the study programme they offer to international students. For instance, if you’re applying for program level 9-10, which includes Master’s degree and Doctoral Degree, you are usually needed to score overall 6.5 Bands in Academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or its equivalent and acceptable test.
Since the English proficiency test is mandatory, and education providers prefer students with a certain level of the score, students need to spend enough time in preparation. Irrespective of which test you’re taking – TOEFL, IELTS or PTE – they will each test your English reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills through various sections.
Once you have given the test – and have scored sufficient to what the education provider of your choice requires – you can commence the admission process. We the Immigration Advisers New Zealand are an Education New Zealand Recognised Agency (ENZRA) and represent most education providers in New Zealand. We have a dedicated team of education/career counsellors and admission processing team in place to assist you.
In the early stage, you will be asked for your academic documents, and work experience evidence (if applicable) along with the score of your English proficiency test. As your application process moves forward, the score you submitted will be verified by the education provider. In case your score for some reason does not meet the required level, you can always retake these tests. Certain education providers can also provide you pathway offer of a place with which you can lodge your pathway student visa.
If you need more assistance with the admission process, consider contacting our team of education counsellors. For help with New Zealand Student Visa, get in touch with Immigration Advisers New Zealand Ltd. IANZ is one of the leading immigration services providers in Auckland, trusted by hundreds of international students with their end-to-end visa needs and problems.
Vandana Rai is a Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser and has built a reputation around her rare set of skills, which could be considered ideal for her legal profession.