[lg policy] New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority: English Language Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 6 12:53:45 UTC 2011

v. English Language Policy 1 September 2011

v.1        Purpose

    This policy sets out the required English language standard to
become a licensed immigration adviser.

v.2        Competency standard 5: English language

    Competency Standard 5 of the Immigration Advisers Competency
Standards 2010, “Apply communication techniques to the immigration
process in the English language”, requires applicants to be able to
communicate to a high standard in English, both orally and in writing.
    To meet the minimum standard of competency a person must
demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Registrar that they can
“competently complete documentation in the English language to a high
standard” and “competently conduct oral communications in the English
language to a high standard”.

v.3        Evidence required by the Registrar

    Applicants may demonstrate their English language skills in the
following ways:
        an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test;
        evidence of primary schooling and at least three years
secondary schooling or equivalent where the education was conducted in
the English language; or
        evidence of five years secondary schooling in schools where
the education was conducted in the English language.

v.3.1     International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

    IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It
measures ability to communicate in English across all four language
skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking.
    The Authority requires applicants who are demonstrating their
English language skills through the IELTS to use the academic test
rather than the general test.
    IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale. Each band corresponds to a
specified competence in English. The band scores are in either whole
or half bands.
        A user with a band score of 6 is a “competent user” with
generally effective command of the English language despite some
inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings, who can use and
understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar
        A user with a band score of 7 is a “good user” with
operational command of the language, though with occasional
inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some
situations, who generally handles complex language well and
understands detailed reasoning.

v.3.2     IELTS evidential requirements

    Applicants can provide evidence of competency by completing the
IELTS test with minimum academic scores of reading 6.5; listening 6.5;
speaking 6.5; and writing 6.5 with a minimum overall IELTS academic
band score of 7.0 or over.
    The Immigration Advisers Authority (the Authority) will accept
IELTS test results only where the following requirements are met:
        the test report form must be either the original or a certified copy;
        the test was taken by the applicant in the five years
preceding the date on which the Registrar receives an application; or
        the test was taken by the applicant more than five years
before the date on which the Registrar receives an application but is
accompanied by evidence that the applicant has lived and worked in an
English speaking country since taking the test, with no material
periods of time away from that country.
    The Registrar will accept evidence of IELTS test scores achieved
in more than one sitting if both the following criteria are met:
        The applicant has taken the second and any subsequent IELTS
tests within 12 calendar months of taking the first; and
        The applicant has achieved a minimum academic overall band
score of 7.0 in each test.
    The applicant must complete page 11 of the New Zealand Immigration
Advisers Licence Application (application booklet) that provides
details of their IELTS test scores.

v.3.3     Evidential requirements for primary and secondary schooling

    Applicants may also demonstrate the minimum requirements of competency by:
        completion of primary schooling (or equivalent) and at least
three years secondary schooling (or equivalent) in schools where the
education was conducted in the English Language; or
        completion of at least five years secondary schooling (or
equivalent) in schools where the education was conducted in the
English Language.
    The applicant must complete pages 11 and 12 of the application
booklet with details of their schooling.
    The Registrar will accept attendance at a primary school
equivalent or at a secondary school equivalent, where:
        all the school tuition was conducted in the English language; and
        the applicant has either provided copies of school records or
if school records are not available has signed the statutory
declaration on page 19 of the application booklet.
    The Registrar acknowledges that for some applicants it is
difficult to obtain copies of school records. In the absence of
schooling records, the Registrar accepts a statutory declaration
submitted with an application for a licence. This is because the
applicant is required to declare that all information that is provided
is accurate. If the applicant knowingly provides false or misleading
information about schooling records the applicant could be prosecuted.
This offence could result in a fine, imprisonment or the cancellation
of his or her licence.

v.4        Evidence of tertiary study not accepted

    The Registrar will not accept evidence of the completion of a
tertiary qualification, regardless of whether the tuition was
delivered in English.
    The Registrar does not consider evidence of the completion of a
tertiary qualification as valid or sufficient evidence on its own that
an applicant meets the English language competency standard.  There is
considerable variance between tertiary courses in course length,
minimum contact time, course structure, teaching and assessment
    This means that even when the tuition is in English, it is
possible for a student to obtain a tertiary qualification with minimal
exposure to an English speaking environment. Evidence of a tertiary
qualification does not guarantee that the applicant had a high level
of interaction with English speaking lecturers, peers and colleagues
while studying.

v.5       Verification of evidence during assessment process

    As part of the assessment process all of the documentation
provided by the applicant will be assessed.
    Following this an assessor will conduct a telephone interview with
the applicant to verify their oral English language ability.
    The Registrar has the discretion in all cases to require an
applicant to sit an IELTS test to confirm that they meet the minimum
level of competence.


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