NZ extends pre-purchased English courses for migrants

06 April 2008


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New Zealand immigration authorities were requiring some migrants to pre-pay English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) tuition as a condition for acceptance of their application. The pre-paid tuition previously allowed migrants to take their ESOL courses anytime during the initial 3.5 years since they entered the country.

As of 31 March 2008, New Zealand no longer has this requirement, and has extended the period of entitlement to receive ESOL training from 3.5 years to 5 years for those who do pre-pay for the English language training.

In addition, some applicants who have already pre-paid under the previous rules have also had their period of entitlement for English language training extended from 3.5 years to 5 years. This includes those who have paid for their tuition within the last three years from inside New Zealand and those who have paid their tuition within the last 3.5 years from outside New Zealand.

Generally, migrants who were required to take ESOL training before the rule changes were secondary applicants under the Skilled Migrant Category, such as spouses or other dependants.

New Zealand's Skilled Migrant Category is a points based system, somewhat similar to Australia's and the UK's points based immigration schemes, which assessed a main applicants chances of immigrating to the country based upon criteria such as age, education, and experience.