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 delivered 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.

Providers may accept the following as evidence of English language proficiency

  • 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 an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Cambridge A-level qualification for which the teaching and assessment was conducted in English
  • evidence that the student has been awarded the Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) or the Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL)
  • evidence that the student has been awarded one of the qualifications listed in Rule 18.3(c), 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 of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2018 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, provided that (a) this was at schools in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States OR that the student has been granted a New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarship by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and (b) the language of instruction was English
  • evidence that the student has completed five years of secondary education, provided that (a) this was at schools in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States OR that the student has been granted a New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarship by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and (b) the language of instruction was English.

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.

 
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