Providers and partners

English language entry requirements for international students

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) sets English language entry requirements for international students through the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018 and the Training Scheme Rules 2012.

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.

Providers must keep evidence of this as part of their enrolment records for at least two years from the date of enrolment.

When do the English language entry requirements apply?

Rule 18 of the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018 sets the English language proficiency requirements for international students.

The requirements apply to the enrolment of international students in:

  • programmes (other than English language programmes) leading to qualifications listed at levels 3 to 10 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)
  • training schemes at level 3 or higher on the NZQF (except enrolment in training schemes where their employer has organised, paid for or required the training)
  • programmes being studied off-shore (except where the programme is approved to be delivered entirely in a language other than English).

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.

What is an English language programme?

For the purpose of Rule 18, an English language programme is one that delivers learning and teaching of English language skills to learners who have English as their additional language. It would focus on delivery and assessment of all four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Programmes that incorporate some English language components as well as other academic study are not English language programmes. Students enrolling in such a programme would need to provide evidence of English language proficiency.

What is acceptable evidence of English language proficiency?

There is a range of evidence that providers can use to verify an international student’s English language proficiency. This is listed in Rule 18 of the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018. Providers should check the validity of evidence provided.

NZQA has developed guidance to assist providers in applying the English language requirements: Acceptable evidence of English language proficiency (PDF, 130KB).

Providers may accept the following as evidence of English language proficiency

For students from a country with a visa decline-rate of less than 20 per cent

  • evidence that the student has achieved NCEA Level 3 and has met the New Zealand university entrance requirements
  • evidence that the student has been awarded one of the qualifications listed in Rule 18.3, provided that (a) the qualification was obtained from a tertiary education provider from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States; and (b) The language of instruction was English
  • evidence that the student has achieved, within the two years preceding the proposed date of enrolment, the required outcome for one of the internationally recognised proficiency tests listed in the Table in the Appendix for the level in which the student is enrolling
  • evidence that the student has completed all primary education and at least three years of secondary education at schools with English as the language of instruction
  • evidence that the student has completed five years of secondary education at schools with English as the language of instruction.

For students from a country with a visa decline-rate of more than 20 per cent

  • evidence that the student has achieved NCEA Level 3 and has met the New Zealand university entrance requirements
  • evidence that the student has been awarded one of the qualifications listed in Rule 18.3, provided that (c) the qualification was obtained from a tertiary education provider from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States; and (d) The language of instruction was English
  • evidence that the student has achieved, within the two years preceding the proposed date of enrolment, the required outcome for one of the internationally recognised proficiency tests listed in the Table in the Appendix for the level in which the student is enrolling.

The current student visa decline rates can be viewed at the Immigration New Zealand's website

The Table of English language proficiency outcomes for international students

The Table sets out the approved tests, and required outcomes, that may be used as evidence of English language proficiency for international students who are enrolling in programmes at different levels of the NZQF

The Table is held in the Appendix to the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018.

The listed outcomes are the minimum scores or grades for each test or qualification that qualify a student for enrolment at each programme level.

Use of NZQA-approved internal English language proficiency assessments

From 22 August 2018, internal English language proficiency assessments are no longer acceptable evidence of English proficiency under the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018.

A transition period is in place until 22 November 2018

A three-month transition period is in place to allow providers affected by this change to finalise international student enrolments based on NZQA-approved internal assessments.

This means that:

  • Category 1 and 2 providers who held NZQA-approval of their internal English proficiency assessments as at 22 August 2018 can continue to administer these assessments until 22 November 2018.
  • Results from these NZQA-approved internal English proficiency assessments can continue to be used to enrol international students until 22 November 2018.

Providers have the option to extend the transition period until 31 December 2018

NZQA has offered providers who currently hold NZQA approval of their internal English proficiency assessments the option to extend the transition period to 31 December 2018.

This means that:

  • Category 1 and 2 providers who apply for this option can continue to administer their internal English proficiency assessments until 31 December 2018.
  • Internal assessment results from providers who have applied for this option can be used to enrol international students until 31 December 2018

Note: Internal English proficiency assessments can only be used for the enrolment of students from countries with a student visa decline rate of less than 20 per cent.

Providers with NZQA-approved internal English language assessments

These providers can administer their NZQA-approved internal English proficiency assessment for the enrolment of international students until 22 November 2018.

Providers marked with an * have applied for the option to extend the transition period until 31 December 2018.

MoE numberOrganisation nameLocation
7940 Auckland English Academy (1988) Limited* Auckland
8530 Auckland Institute of Studies Limited (trading as Auckland Institute of Studies (AIS))* Auckland
7375 Bridge International College NZ Limited* Auckland
8541 Canterbury College Limited* Christchurch
8966 Christchurch College of English Limited* Christchurch
6007 Eastern Institute of Technology Napier
7491 Foundation English Limited Auckland
7526 Global Education group Limited (trading as North Shore International Academy (NSIA))* Auckland
7548 ICL Education Limited (trading as ICL Graduate Business School)* Auckland
7502 Ignite Colleges* Auckland
8682 ILA Education (NZ) Limited (trading as Kaplan International English)* Auckland
7499 Imperial College of New Zealand Limited* Auckland
8544 Languages International Limited* Auckland
7575 Making Futures Happen International Institute Limited (trading as Elite Management School) (Wellington Campus)* Wellington
8546 New Horizon College of English* Napier
6011 Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology* Nelson
8437 Newton College of Business and Technology* Auckland
7850 New Zealand Institute of Education 2007 Limited (trading as New Zealand Institute of Education)* Auckland
8532 New Zealand Languages Centres Limited (trading as New Zealand Language Centres)* Auckland
7647 New Zealand School of Education Limited* Auckland
8550 Soshi Gakuen New Zealand Incorporated trading as IPU New Zealand (Institute of the Pacific United New Zealand)* Palmerston North
6015 Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)* Invercargill
9244 Southern Lakes English College* Queenstown
7459 Study Group NZ Limited trading as Taylors College and EmbassyCES* Auckland
7480 The Campbell Institute – Capital Language Academy* Wellington
6019 Waikato Institute of Technology* Hamilton
7352 Wilkinson’s English Language School Limited* Christchurch
 
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