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Recognition of Courses and requirements to study: IELTS test is the official measurement system for the English level and it can be used for an application to immigration and for attending a course, secondary school, vocational or university in New Zealand . The test can be done at accredited schools anywhere in the world. Some schools in NZ may accept the result of a TOEFL test if the equivalent of IELTS is about the same. Some secondary and vocational courses, may accept results or certificates done from other English tests. For those who do not have IELTS results, some schools offer a test to rate students in their own classification. The NZ Government, polytechnics and universities usually request the IELTS result as part of the documents for registration. In the beginning of any English course, an internal test will be applied to know at what level student will be attending (please see table about levels at bottom of page).

To attend a NZ Secondary school they may check if student has the minimum English level to understand the classes (for example, have studied previously English in home country in school), aks the subjects and transcripts fthat should be translated and sworn. The grades do not really matter much because in New Zealand secondary system has a different opinion. The most important thing to know if your country will accept and acknowledge the progress made in New Zealand. It's better to check if there are compulsory subjects in your country that you must attend while studying it the school in New Zealand. Secondary Courses completed in New Zealand, are accepted without any restrictions in Australia, USA and some European countries. In Australia, secondary courses done in NZ may even allow direct entry into their universities and technical courses.

Vocational Course in NZ do not usually required any previous studies only the minimum level of English is observed. However, they may require a proof of completion of the secondary degree. A completed vocational courses done in New Zealand, is accepted in Australia, but depending on the course and agreements with other countries it may not be recognized elsewhere. For example, pharmacy, nursing, electrician, plumber etc. The best is to search in your country about mutual recognition agreements. Vocational courses conducted in New Zealand are accepted by most universities in New Zealand and Australia and enable direct access for complementary studies. But the total of credits will be at the discretion of each institution. The trades and labour market in Australia also acknowledges the technical courses done in New Zealand as it works with the same systems and patterns, but to be registered and to receive a licence could be different process in each country and state in Australia.

  For Tertiary courses University & Postgraduate Courses in NZ  will be necessary to have the IELTS test result as well as the transcripts from previous studies translated and sworn. If the candidate has never being accepted in a university course before but has finished the secondary course it will be analysed to determine if the student will be able to enter. If not, they may offer an alternative course called "Foundation" which is for the candidate have the equivalence. For those already enrolled in a university in your home country, its more simply to apply with the results of IELTS test and translated transcripts of the subjects studied, if not done in any English country. For those who already completed a university and want to make a Post Graduation course, English will be required plus the translated results of the university course. You may complete the required subjects during the course, but this will be at the discretion of the university. 

 Note: Some Post Graduation require special subjects to be done or a specific university course to be allow to entry (such as medicine law etc), others are open to any one who has the university in any area. Courses such as Dentistry or Civil Engineering, may need to pursue the various topics to suit local regulations. The universities will give you all the procedures that you will need to follow. University courses done in New Zealand are all recognized in Australia, USA and parts of Europe. In other countries, better check out the agreements between universities. Many tertiary courses done in New Zealand are not automatically recognized in other countries and may required approval by the professional bodies to be recognized and licensed to be allowed to work.

  Tip for students back to home country: If you are planning to do a course in New Zealand and your intention is to work in this area back in your home country, check out prior of leaving if this university course or with the relevant professional department will accept it and recognize course done in another country. You can also contact the university or course in NZ, ask them to send their curriculum and course descriptions to be submitted to the competent bodies responsible for the recognition of these courses in your country. If they are accepted, excellent, but be aware that in the future you may have to do a partial study again in your home country.

Tip for future migrants: The first thing to do if you are planning to migrate or work in New Zealand (start with that even before any officially application) is to have your studies/course recognized by the NZQA. For that you must have a diploma and the transcripts including hours and subjects studied via certified copies after translated documents and with legalized copy, sworn preferably by a translator accredited by the Embassy or Consulate in your country.

Note: Example of equivalence of tests IELTS to TOEFL and E-TOEFL:










Lower Intermediate








Upper Intermediate








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