English language test results for Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

Find out which English language test results are acceptable if you are applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC).

Your standard of English

You and your family can show that you speak and understand English by passing a test.

Your test results

Your test results must be no more than 2 years old when we accept your visa application.

Which English language test results are acceptable to us depends on whether you are the principal applicant, or their partner or a dependent child.

If you are the principal applicant

Check the table to find out which English language test results we accept.

Test Minimum score you need
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) — General or Academic Module Overall score of 6.5 or more
Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) Overall score of 79 or more
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) Overall score of 58 or more
Cambridge English B2 First (FCE) Overall score of 176 or more
B2 First for Schools (FCE for Schools) Overall score of 176 or more
Occupational English Test (OET) Grade B or higher in all 4 skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
You need this score in all 4 skills because there is no overall grade for this test.

If you are the partner or a dependent child

Partners  and dependent children 16 years or older can show they have a minimum standard of English by passing a test. Check the table to find out which English language test results we accept.

Test Minimum score required
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - General or Academic Module Overall score of 5.0 or more
Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) Overall score of 35 or more
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) Overall score of 36 or more
Cambridge English B2 First (FCE) Overall score of 154 or more
B2 First for Schools (FCE for Schools) Overall score of 154 or more
Occupational English Test (OET) Grade C or higher in all 4 skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. You need a score of Grade C or higher in all 4 skills as there is no overall grade for this test.

Who does not need to pass a test

You do not need to provide test results if one of the following applies to you.

  • You are a citizen of Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom or the United States, and you have spent at least 5 years working or studying in those countries, or in Australia or New Zealand.
  • You have a qualification similar to a New Zealand level 7 bachelor's degree gained in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States, and you studied for at least 2 years in any of those countries to get that qualification.
  • You have a qualification gained in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom or the United States, which is comparable to a postgraduate New Zealand qualification. You must have studied for at least 1 year in any of those countries to get that qualification.

English language lessons for family members

You can buy English language lessons for your family members — that is, your partner and dependent children 16 or older — if they:

  • do not meet the requirements
  • were included in your application.

If they sat a test but did not get a high enough score, they may be able to get a discount on the cost of lessons.

Learning English after you come to New Zealand