Changes to Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules

16 Jun 2015

The NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2013 have been amended. The amendments (PDF, 164KB) to Rule 18 and Appendix 2 were approved by Hon Steven Joyce on 6 June 2015 and came into effect on 7 June 2015.

The amendments to Rule 18 are informed by public consultation feedback.

Changes to English language requirements: Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ document has been prepared by NZQA and Immigration New Zealand in response to questions from providers about the recent changes to English language requirements for international students.

The changes are summarised below.

Changes to Rule 18: English language requirements for international students

There are changes to using internal English proficiency assessments and previous study at schools where English is the medium of instruction, as evidence of English proficiency for international students.

Category 1 and approved Category 2 providers can now use internal English proficiency assessments only for international students from countries with an annual student visa approval rate of at least 80 per cent.

Category 1, 2 and 3 providers can now use previous study at schools where English is the medium of instruction as evidence of English proficiency only for international students from countries with an annual student visa approval rate of at least 80 per cent.

These changes will apply to student visa applications submitted to Immigration New Zealand from 24 October 2015. See the current Immigration New Zealand student visa approval rates.

What do the changes to Rule 18 mean for providers?

English language entry requirements remain the same for international students from countries with a student visa approval rate of at least 80 per cent.

Providers can still enrol international students from countries with a student visa approval rate below 80 per cent. However, these students must use one of the following methods to demonstrate that they have the required level of English proficiency to study in New Zealand.

Providers must ensure that the student:

  • has gained NCEA level 3 and met New Zealand University Entrance requirements; or
  • holds a Bachelor’s degree of at least three years from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States of America; or
  • has achieved a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA); or
  • has achieved the required score in one of the following internationally recognised English proficiency tests within the preceding two years:
                  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
                  • University of Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
                  • University of Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
                  • University of Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE)
                  • International English for Speakers of Other Languages qualifications by City and Guilds (IESOL)
                  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) (PToE)
                  • New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL)
                  • English Language proficiency test of the Educational Testing Service (TOEFL)

The required score for each programme level is set out in the Table for Internationally recognised English Proficiency Outcomes for International Students contained in Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2013 (link below).

Changes to Appendix 2

There are two changes to the Table for Internationally recognised English Proficiency Outcomes for International Students contained in Appendix 2.

The first change makes more transparent a correction from 2013 relating to the proficiency level of the New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) required for certificates at level 4 and programmes at level 6 or 7.

The second change is to the proficiency scores for University of Cambridge English examinations, which now reflect the new scoring scale introduced by Cambridge English in January 2015.

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