December Newsletter

Additional English language test providers

Following updates from Immigration New Zealand in November, a wider range of English language tests are now acceptable.

In addition to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Immigration New Zealand now accepts the Cambridge English First (FCE) and FCE for Schools, Occupational English Test (OET), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based Test, and the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic.

Below is a brief overview of the key features of these tests for applicants who need to choose a provider best suited to their needs.


This test is the internationally recognised standard which has been accepted by Immigration New Zealand to date. It offers to assess the candidate’s English language skills in a realistic face-to-face context, and is also recognised by higher education institutions. IELTS offers two tests, the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General – the choice of test and the score required will depend on factors such as the visa sought, the area of work, but for Immigration New Zealand purposes the General test is acceptable and therefore recommended because it is easier to obtain a better grade.

IELTS offers 16 testing locations around New Zealand, many within educational institutions. There are up to 48 test opportunities per year, and the tests may be taken up to a year in advance. Free resources and sample questions are available from IELTS online, together with official practice materials which can be obtained online or purchased from a local test centre. The test is taken in a sitting of 2 hours and 45 minutes, and covers listening, reading, writing and speaking, and allows for the variance of native-speaker English of different countries. The cost to sit the test is NZD385 and results can be viewed on the website within 13 days of testing.

FCE and FCE for Schools

The FCE is an internationally recognised qualification developed by Cambridge English. The FCE for Schools is a variant which is also recognised for it’s measurement of the English language ability tailored for those under 18 years of age. Both tests can be taken in written or computer based formats. The duration of the FCE tests is approximately 3.5 hours.

There are free online practice materials and learning resources, and 11 exam centres around New Zealand making it widely accessible. In addition, there are 26 FCE and 17 FCE for Schools sessions each year, making it a convenient option in terms of timing. Results of the FCE tests take between 2-4 weeks, depending on the format taken, and the cost of taking the FCE is NZD335.


The OET is a niche test designed specifically for health professionals who have trained in non-English speaking countries. It is likely to be useful for reflecting communication abilities in specific professions, dealing with familiar professional subject matter. The skills developed are designed to be of ongoing benefit in terms of patient safety and care quality. This test is recognised by Health Regulatory authorities and for registration purposes within New Zealand.

There are sub-tests to choose from depending on the test-taker’s occupation, and the components covered are listening, reading, and writing and speaking specific to the professional area of the test-taker. The tests take around 3.5 hours and are held monthly. Scores are modular with an online results-verification service, and the cost is a fixed AUD587.


This test, owned by global brand ETS, has been recognised for New Zealand university admission for many years and recognises United Kingdom and United States variations of spelling and pronunciation. It is available from three test centres in New Zealand, and consists of four sections – reading, listening, speaking and writing, and takes four hours. The cost is USD265, registration is online and testing is also computer based. The results become available within 10 days and can be downloaded form the website. Also worth noting is the availability of a practice test which provides scoring and feedback before the candidate is required to commit to the cost of the full test. Results are verifiable online.

PTE Academic

PTE Academic has an extensive global recognition, and is now approved by INZ for candidates for all visa categories. It is designed to have real life relevance and uses automated scoring with the aim of minimising the error margin. A candidate is able to book up to 24 hours before the test, and the results become available within 5 working days of testing. This test has the benefit of being available to take multiple times within a short period of time, due to the frequency of test sessions. Online preparation material is available free of charge. The cost is NZD385, and the structure is three parts over three hours, and it is computer-based. Test centres are currently based only in Auckland and Wellington. The result can be submitted to INZ in the form of a paper certificate; however candidates can also provide their PTE registration number, which can be checked directly with PTE for verification purposes.

Choosing a test

As the reader will appreciate there is now a great deal of choice available for meeting the new English language standard introduced to the Skilled Migrant Category. Care however is required for choosing to rely on one of these, so this basic information is only a brief summary for applicants that need to sit one of these tests to help consider what one to choose.

For further information or assistance with emigration please contact the Lane Neave Lawyers on + 64 3 379 3720 or email

A Kiwi summer

The great summer break for most New Zealanders starts in mid-December. School is out for 6 weeks, annual leave is taken from work, and long, sunny days and BBQs lie ahead. It’s the season of wine festivals, beach visits, family holidays, and the start of the countdown to Christmas and New Year.

Christmas in New Zealand can be a strange time for new migrants and visitors, as Air New Zealand’s latest promotional video explains. Those more accustomed to a Northern Hemisphere festive season may miss the marks of a ‘traditional’ Christmas; wrapping up warmly to view Christmas lights, a hearty meal with all the trimmings, and the possibility of snow. A Kiwi Christmas, however, does bring unexpected benefits and opportunities; BBQs and a beer on the deck into the late evening, the comfort of wearing the Kiwi ‘summer uniform’ of a t-shirt or singlet, shorts and jandals (flip-flops), and the chance for children to play with their newly acquired Christmas presents in the sun. A Christmas meal may include some of the traditional elements of chicken or ham, but it often also includes a festive BBQ with fresh produce, cold meats and seafood. Add to this a favourite local dessert – pavlova, fresh fruit, and hockey pokey ice-cream (plain vanilla ice cream with small, solid lumps of honeycomb toffee) – and you’ve got yourself a true Kiwi Christmas feast.

Many city-dwellers take the opportunity to escape to a favourite holiday spot over the summer, usually close to beaches or lakes. While camping may be less popular than it once was, it remains a traditional favourite of many Kiwis. In some of the country’s most popular spots, it pays to book a whole year ahead if you want a guaranteed spot to pitch your tent or park your caravan. Baches (holiday homes) are another popular choice, ranging in size, comfort and cost.

Police take time over the summer holidays to promote safety messages. These centre on safe driving:

  • Obeying New Zealand’s road rules,
  • Driving to the weather conditions,
  • Maintaining patience on often congested roads, and
  • Not drink-driving

and water safety:

  • Swimming between the flags at beaches where there are patrols,
  • Watching children in the water, and
  • Boat safety.

Another caution, particularly for newcomers who are unaccustomed to the strong Kiwi sun, is to slip, slop, slap and wrap: slip into a shirt, and into some shade, slop on some sunscreen before going outdoors, slap on a hat with a brim or a cap with flaps, and wrap on a pair of sunglasses.

For those who stay at home during the summer break, there is plenty to keep them occupied. Beaches, walkways, hiking and cycle trails, libraries and public swimming pools remain open throughout the holidays. Shops and malls are open for business and bustling with New Year’s sales. Day trips or long weekends to nearby coastal or lake townships are always a popular choice.

Wherever Kiwis go for their summer break, and whatever they do, the focus is on taking a breather after a long year, relaxing in the sunshine, and looking forward to a happy and satisfying New Year ahead.

Article provided by Lisa Burdes – Skilled Migrant Business Advisor at the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber offers free settlement support and resources to employers of migrants in Canterbury. This service is fully funded by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). If you have questions about living and working in New Zealand, you can visit, email your query to or ring the INZ Contact Centre on +64 9 914 4100.

Overcoming recruitment challenges in the IT sector

Although there’s no denying New Zealand has highly skilled local IT talent, our considerably smaller market presents several obvious challenges for technology employers looking to hire specialist IT candidates for business-critical roles.

Recruiting skilled international IT professionals is an excellent solution to filling these skill gaps, however engaging candidates from other countries is an activity that comes with significant risks. In our experience, when these risks are mitigated, this international talent pipeline can help employers secure highly productive and loyal employees, and a huge competitive advantage.

New Zealand has been named as the world’s best country four years running, candidates who flirted with the idea of immigrating didn’t truly appreciate how big of an ordeal moving to a new country is. This posed a costly risk for employers because these applicants weren’t fully invested, or were doing it for the wrong reasons, which led to many people getting cold feet before they were due to arrive.

New Zealand’s booming IT scene has led to candidates looking to come here to gain experience in new innovative sectors & roles that are hard to come by anywhere else.

To successfully implement international talent into any workforce, you may need to change the way you perceive engagement. As is the case with any hire, cost is an important factor. Many companies are under the impression that the cost of recruiting international talent often outweighs the return on investment. Whilst there are additional costs in play, such as visa requirements and relocation costs, this isn’t always the case. The reality is that the benefits of securing a highly skilled individual from another country can often far outweigh the total expense. Keeping with the topic of cost, salary expectations can also vary across markets. For example, a Java Developer in the UK will often expect to be paid more than the market average here in New Zealand. Recruiters are used to managing these expectations and can ensure that both parties are content with the offer before any commitment is made.

It’s been our experience that a candidate’s expertise will vary just as much as their expectations. Jobs in larger markets such as the UK, will tend to be more specific than those in New Zealand. This difference can lead to confusion around expectations from both sides. A business intelligence expert from another country may have a very specific kind of experience, so starting a new role in New Zealand with broader responsibilities than they’re used to, could give them quite a shock.

Due to the shortage of skilled candidates nationally, Enterprise Recruitment & People are always seeking quality staff especially in the Information Technology Sector. If you have a specialist skill set or experience in any sector, and an interest in opportunities in New Zealand, don’t hesitate to contact one of our specialist Recruiters today.

Article provided by Steve Baker – Enterprise Recruitment and People.

Enterprise Recruitment and People has a national presence. We remain interested in providing obligation free advice to offshore candidate’s about their chances of securing employment in New Zealand.

Looking ahead politically

As at December 12 New Zealand had a new Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Finance Minister. This followed the resignation of John Key who had been in power as PM since the general election of 2008. He and his team came in as the Global Financial Crisis was playing out and have done an extremely good job of handling the economy through that shock, the many mini-shocks offshore since then, and the Christchurch earthquake of February 2011.

It helps that New Zealand does not have states therefore no senate, and the NZ public for near quarter of a century now have actively voted against political parties bringing platforms of change. Few people have felt that the economy was not on the right track since the early-1990s. Few people also are of the opinion that NZ society is in need of alteration. New Zealand has not embraced the hand wringing liberalist multiculturalism of the UK, Australia and Europe, and is not much affected by inflows of illegal migrants as in the United States.

However if there is one lesson from both Brexit and the Trump election win in the United States it is that governments wanting to stay in power, and opponents seeking to gain power, need to see if there are large groups of disaffected people who feel that their views are not being represented in governing institutions.

In New Zealand it is not clear that any such large groups exist. The people who lost employment following removal of protection for the farming and manufacturing sectors moved on with their lives in the 1980s and early-1990s. Many simply shifted to Australia which acts as a safety valve or escape outlet for any Kiwi unhappy with life in New Zealand.

New Zealanders are highly adaptable and mobile and when times are tough we go to Australia with little thought of never being able to come back should we one day change our minds. This seems not to be the case in large countries where we suspect few people have actively considered leaving the US, UK, Germany, France etc. because of the various types of woe they see around them.

New Zealand has a robust social welfare system, free public health and education, and dominant attitude of respect for those who “have a go” at anything. However, there are some challenging areas which may increasingly be addressed. One is the growing urban/rural split. Farming these days attracts few people and generates few jobs as operators mechanise. Young people increasingly seek opportunities in the cities, and older people move to be closer to the health care available in these cities.

The erosion of small towns in many parts of New Zealand may elicit some attention in next year’s Budget (due n May) with a hike in infrastructure spending on roading as a means of spreading the booming tourism sector further out from the main centres.

There are also deepening concerns about a lack of affordable housing in Auckland. However there is essentially nothing that can be done about this and history suggests to us that once the pace of house price rises slows to below 5% the issue will not receive much media attention.

Growing worries about child poverty are likely to be a focus of the new Prime Minister’s leadership team and again the May Budget is likely to contain some measures aimed at addressing it. The ability to do so is enhanced by the fact that the government is running a surplus for the third year in a row with that surplus forecast to rise to $8.5bn or 2.7% of GDP come 2021.

This fiscal situation is in stark contrast to the generally poor state of public accounts in other countries and reflects the ongoing positive impact of the huge range of reforms undertaken over a generation ago and the focus since then on incremental rather than bold reform. This incremental approach is likely to continue. This means anyone moving to live in New Zealand in the next few years can expect to see an absence of large economic or social reforms and a continuation of the bit by bit process put in place so successfully under ex-PM John Key and likely to be pursued by the new PM Bill English.

Article provided by Tony Alexander – Chief Economist, Strategy & Business Performance, BNZ. 

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Newsletter – December 2016 pdf

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