4 Tips to help you prepare for your English test
If there’s one part of the immigration process that many people underestimate, it’s the English language test.
“But I can speak English, it won’t be a problem”, we hear you say.
This may be the case, but can you speak English to the level Immigration New Zealand requires? How’s your spelling and grammar? And when was the last time you were subjected to the nail-biting anxiety of having to complete a test in a certain time?
Your English language test score is an important part of your visa application. It could even mean the difference between being able to submit a visa application or not. Won’t you want to be as prepared as can be?
Tip 1: Understand the test format
The most common English language tests are the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic).
Both of these tests consist of four parts:
In turn, each part consists of a set of questions and tasks. Familiarising yourself with all the parts, questions and tasks will prepare you for what’s coming on test day. Going in blind is setting yourself up for failure!
Let’s give you the Reading section of the IELTS as an example:
The Reading section consists of 40 questions and you have 60 minutes to answer them. You’ll get tested on a wide range of reading skills which include:
- Reading for gist, main ideas and detail
- Understanding logical argument
- Recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose
The reading material will come from materials you are likely to encounter on daily basis in an English-speaking environment such as extracts from books, magazines, company handbooks, and advertisements.
When it comes to the questions, you can expect a variety of questions ranging from multiple choice to summary completion and matching features.
And while this may be the reading part of your English language test, you’ll be penalized for poor spelling and grammar!
Can you already see why it’s important to prepare for your English test?
Tip 2: Practice with sample tests
Completing sample test materials will help to prepare you for the test in a big way! You’ll be able to:
- Familiarise yourself with the test format
- Experience the types of tasks you’ll be asked to do
- Test yourself under timed conditions
- Review your answers and compare them with model answers
This is like the tests that came before the big end-of-year exams at school. Do you think you would’ve done half as good in the exam if you didn’t write the tests beforehand?
Both IELTS and Pearson have sample tests available on their websites, and you download it here and here.
Tip 3: Consider working with an English language teacher
You don’t have to prepare for this important test on your own! You are allowed to work with an English language test teacher.
Most teachers work with you over Skype but there also teachers who’ll meet up face-to-face. The content of the session and the support provided also range from one teacher to the next.
In general though you can expect English language teachers to introduce you to the test format, take you through sample tests, give feedback, and focus on your developmental areas. Some teachers also provide you with learning materials and ebooks.
Intergate has a list of English language teachers we recommend and you can access this list if you’re a client of ours. If you haven’t asked us for this list yet, do so today.
Tip 4: Know what to expect on test day
Cast your mind back to those important end-of-year exams at school. Remember how you had to be seated at a certain time? Remember that you had have at least two pens, a ruler and a pencil?
The English language test environment is similar. You’ll obviously have to be on time, but there are in fact also items to bring to the exam. One such item is a means of identification.
If you’re an Intergate Emigration client, your advisor will be able to advise you on exactly what to expect on test day. Alternatively, you can chat to your English language teacher who’ll also be able to guide you.
This is not ‘just’ an English test.
Your English language test score counts towards your overall points score which determine whether or not you can live and work in New Zealand. Scoring well is thus important if you want to boost your chances of immigrating.
If you don’t prepare you’re potentially setting yourself up for failure – and we’re sure that’s not what you want to do.
- Published in New Zealand Immigration Advice, Your Visa Application
Your Work to Residence visa options for New Zealand
Did you know it’s possible to work to residence in New Zealand? This means it’s not necessarily the end of the road if you didn’t qualify for permanent residence straight away!
Today we’ll introduce you to all the visa options for work to residence. If you want to find out if you’re eligible for any, we suggest booking a consultation call with our licensed advisor immediately.
How does ‘work to residence’ work?
There are four temporary work visa options under the work to residence programme. When granted one of these visas you’ll be eligible to apply for permanent residence after you’ve held the temporary visa for two years (or three years for religious workers).
Four Work to Residence visa options for New Zealand
You have four work to residence visas to explore. This is provided you meet the basic qualifying criteria which is that you must:
- Be 55 or younger; and
- Meet New Zealand’s health and character requirements.
The visas are:
- Work to Residence: Long Term Skills Shortage
- Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Visa
- Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
- Religious Worker Work Visa
1. Work to Residence: Long Term Skills Shortage
If you are qualified and skilled in an occupation for which New Zealand has a sustained and ongoing skills shortage, you may be eligible for a work visa under the Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Category.
These are the requirements you’ll have to meet:
- Your skills and experience appear on the Long Term Skill Shortage List.
- You’ve received a full-time job offer that:
- Uses your skills and experience; and
- Pays more than NZ$45,000 a year.
While visas are usually issued for up to 30 months, you’ll be allowed to apply for residence after two years (24 months) provided:
- Your job was on the Long Term Skill Shortage List when you applied for your visa; or
- Your job is on the Long Term Skill Shortage List when you apply for residence.
- You worked in that skill shortage occupation for the duration of your contract.
2. Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Visa
An accredited employer is an employer that has been pre-approved by Immigration New Zealand to employ skilled or talented foreign nationals. This makes the process simpler and smoother for both the employer and the visa applicant.
To apply for temporary residence under the Accredit Employer category, you’ll have to meet the following criteria:
- You have a full-time job offer for at least 2 years from an accredited employer.
- You must work in the specific job, for the specific accredited employers, and in the specific location detailed in the job offer that was the basis of your visa application. This applies to the duration of your visa.
- You’ll earn at least NZ$79, 560 a year.
As with the Short Term Skill Shortage category you’ll get a visa valid for up to 30 months. You’ll be allowed to apply for permanent residence after two years of employment.
3. Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
You’ll be eligible for this talent visa if you have an exceptional talent in a field of art, sport or culture. In order to be eligible for an application, you must:
- Have the support of a New Zealand organisation of national repute in your field of talent. Such an organization is one that is nationally recognized for its excellence in either:
- A field of art, culture or sport.
- Fostering exceptional talent in a field of art, culture or sport.
- Be able to demonstrate that your ability will result in positive contribution to the development of your specific field in New Zealand.
Your Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa will be valid for up to 30 months. After two years you’ll be able to apply for permanent residence provided that you:
- Were actively engaged in your field in New Zealand for two years.
- Did not apply for or were granted any social welfare benefits in New Zealand.
4. Religious Worker Work Visa
The Religious Worker Work Visa is a pathway to residence for people who are experience or trained in religious work. To be granted a temporary work visa:
- You must have an offer for religious work from an acceptable religious organisation. An acceptable organization is one that is:
- Registered as a charity; and
- Whose main purpose it is to advance religion.
- The religious organization must act as your sponsor.
The Religious Worker Work Visa is valid for up to two years. If the organisation’s work and sponsorship continues, you can apply for a second work visa. You’ll then be able to apply for permanent residence in New Zealand after three years.
To apply for permanent residence, you must:
- Have at least 5 years of religious training and/or experience.
- Continue to work for a religious organization that’s agreed to sponsor you.
- Have English language ability of at least IELTS Level 5.
- Not have applied for or been granted any social welfare benefits in New Zealand.
Family joining you?
New Zealand does not allow you to include your family in your Work to Residence application for New Zealand. However, your spouse and any dependents may apply separately based on their relationship with you. Once you apply for permanent residence, you can include these family members in your application.
Contact us if you have questions
Read something you need clarification on? Want to discuss the requirements in more detail? Then feel free to book a consultation call with our licensed advisor.
- Published in Working in New Zealand