English Language Requirements for International Learners and those for whom English is an Additional Language

Approval Date
17 June 2022
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
17 June 2024
Deputy Chief Executive: Academic Delivery
Baldrige Criteria
Customer focus

To enable learners, particularly international learners, who use English as an additional language (EAL) to participate effectively and to complete their chosen programme of study successfully, they must meet the required competency level for English before an Offer of Place at Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) can be made.

This applies to all programme of study except those which study and assess English language competency and short courses where an interpreter/reader/writer may be used.

  1. Each programme of study, except English language programmes of study, will have an English language competency level as an entry requirement. This level must be stated in the programme of study document and published for prospective learners.

       The English language competency level will not be less than NZQA’s minimum requirement for the level of programme of study/qualification.

  1. Where a programme of study document does not specify the necessary levels of English language competency, the entry requirement will be deemed to be that listed in The Table for the level and type of programme of study. 
  2. Where English is an additional language for learners, English language competency requirements are applicable to all learners who are new to Otago Polytechnic Limited, or existing learners who apply to a new programme of study.
  3. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the preferred English language testing system for Otago Polytechnic Limited. IELTS scores must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report taken in the preceding two (2) years (i.e., combining scores from more than one (1) test is not permissible). Equivalent testing systems that are listed in The Table are also acceptable when taken within the preceding two (2) years.
  4. All English language competency results must be supplied in the original format or as certified copies before an Offer of Place can be made.
  5. Evidence of English Language Proficiency must be retained for two (2) years following each enrolment.
  6. Previous tertiary study in English: All International learners are eligible for enrolment at all levels of the NZQF when they
  • Have achieved National Achievement Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3 and have met New Zealand university entrance requirements; or
  • Can provide clear evidence of completion of:
  • Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Bachelor Honours Degree
  • Postgraduate Certificate
  • Postgraduate Diploma
  • Master’s Degree
  • Doctoral Degree

with English as the language of instruction from tertiary education providers from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, or the United States of America.

  1. International learners from countries with Immigration NZ annual learner visa approval rates of at least eighty percent (80%) are eligible for enrolment at all levels of the NZQF when they provide evidence of either of the following kinds of previous primary and secondary study in English:
  • Completion of all primary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand primary school years one (1) to eight (8)) and at least three years of secondary education (being the equivalent of three years from New Zealand secondary school years in (9) to thirteen (13) at schools where the learner was taught using English as the language of instruction; or
  • Completion of at least five (5) years of secondary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand secondary school years nine (9) to thirteen (13) at schools where the learner was taught using English as the language of instruction.
  1. Those EAL learners who have been identified as at-risk learners may be required to undertake supplementary tuition in English language to ensure success.
Approved by


Approved by:

Dr. Megan Gibbons

Chief Executive

Date:  17 June 2022

megan gibbons signature


Policy Version V7: Previously Coded: AP0520