SM5.5 Minimum standard of English language for principal applicants
- Applications under the Skilled Migrant Category must be declined if the principal applicant has not met the minimum standard of English.
- Principal applicants under the Skilled Migrant Category meet the minimum standard of English if they provide a Test Report Form (no more than 2 years old at the time the application is lodged) from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), showing they achieved an overall band score of at least 6.5 in the IELTS General or Academic Module.
- Notwithstanding (b) above, an immigration officer may, on a case by case basis, consider the following as evidence of the principal applicant meeting the minimum standard of English if:
- they provide evidence that their recognised qualification(s):
- was gained as a result of a course or courses of study in which English was the only medium of instruction; and
- (if that qualification was gained in New Zealand) the qualification had a minimum completion time of at least two years and is at least a bachelor degree or it is a post-graduate qualification and the applicant has an undergraduate qualification that qualifies for points; or
- they have current skilled employment in New Zealand for a period of at least 12 months that qualifies for points (see SM7); or
- they provide other evidence which satisfies an immigration officer that, taking account of that evidence and all the circumstances of the application, they are a competent user of English. These circumstances may include but are not limited to:
- the country in which the applicant currently resides;
- the country(ies) in which the applicant has previously resided;
- the duration of residence in each country;
- whether the applicant speaks any language other than English;
- whether members of the applicant's family speak English;
- whether members of the applicant's family speak any language other than English;
- the nature of the applicant's current or previous employment (if any) and whether that is or was likely to require skill in English language;
- the nature of the applicant's qualifications (if any) and whether the obtaining of those qualifications was likely to require skill in the English language.
- In any case, an immigration officer may require an applicant to provide an IELTS certificate in terms of paragraph (b). In such cases, the IELTS certificate will be used to determine whether the principal applicant* meets the minimum standard of English.
Note: Full consideration must be given to all evidence of English language ability provided before a decision to request an IELTS certificate under SM5.5 (d) is made. If an IELTS certificate is requested the reason(s) behind the decision must be clearly documented and conveyed to the applicant.