New Zealand Work Visa Update: English Test Requirements Revised

Planning to work in New Zealand? Find out if you'll need to take an English test for your Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) application. This guide explains exemptions and accepted English tests!

Thinking about working in New Zealand? The good news is, for some jobs and work visa, you might not need to take an English language test! This guide will break down the English language requirements for the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

Understanding the AEWV

The AEWV opens doors for individuals to work or study in New Zealand under an accredited employer, offering a minimum of 30 hours per week of employment or a study period of up to 3 months within 12 months.

Who Needs to Show English Proficiency?

You’ll only need to demonstrate English skills if the job you’ve been offered falls under ANZSCO Skill Levels 4 or 5. ANZSCO stands for the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, a system categorizing jobs based on skill level.

Also Read: New Rules Impacting Accredited Employer Work Visa Holders in New Zealand


Meeting English Language Requirements

Several avenues exist for meeting the English language requirements for AEWV:

1. Citizenship and Education: English language proficiency may be demonstrated through citizenship, educational qualifications, or the country where one pursued their studies.

2. Exemption Criteria: Individuals with at least 5 years of work or study experience in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the United States are exempt from English language testing.

3. English Language Tests: Alternatively, applicants can opt for English language tests such as:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFLiBT)
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
  • Cambridge English B2 First
  • Occupational English Test (OET)

Exemptions: No English Test Required

Here’s some good news: you can skip the English test if:

  • Your Job Falls Under ANZSCO Levels 1 to 3: These roles typically require lower levels of English proficiency.
  • You’re a Native English Speaker: Being a citizen of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States exempts you from testing.
  • You Studied in an English-Dominant Country: Having completed at least five years of full-time study in one of the above countries qualifies you.

Must Read: New Zealand Announces 5 Major Changes to Accredited Employer Work Visa

Recent Updates: IELTS One Skill Retake

In a recent development by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) provider, a new option called the One Skill Retake has been introduced for both Academic and General Training tests. This allows candidates to retake a specific skill section within 60 days of the original test date, enhancing flexibility and convenience.

Minimum Scores Required

To meet the English language criteria, candidates must achieve minimum scores as follows:

  • IELTS: 4 overall
  • TOEFLiBT: 31 overall
  • PTE Academic: 29 overall
  • Cambridge English B2 First: 142 overall
  • OET: Grade D or higher in all 4 skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking).

Job Token Expiring Soon?

For those facing impending expiration of their job tokens before June 30, 2024, New Zealand authorities will accept evidence of English language test bookings alongside AEWV applications. Job tokens serve as unique identifiers representing jobs approved by accredited employers for migrant hiring.

Key Takeaways

  • English language requirements depend on the skill level of your offered job (ANZSCO 4 or 5).
  • Citizens from specific English-speaking countries and those with relevant study experience are exempt from testing.
  • Several recognized English language tests can fulfill the requirement.

By understanding these guidelines, you can determine if you need to take an English test and plan your New Zealand work visa application accordingly.

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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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