Current State and the Importance of IELTS

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, plays an essential role in migration and education worldwide, particularly for individuals looking to make New Zealand their new residence.

 In 2022, the global count of IELTS takers exceeded 3 million, underscoring its widespread acceptance. For New Zealand, English proficiency is a non-negotiable requirement for work and permanent residency (PR) visa applications. This makes IELTS an indispensable step for many aspiring to start a new chapter in this beautiful country.

The New Change: IELTS One Skill Retake

In a move welcomed by many, Immigration New Zealand has recently approved the ‘IELTS One Skill Retake’ policy. This significant shift allows candidates who narrowly miss their required score in one IELTS section (listening, reading, writing, or speaking) to retake just that module. 

IELTS' and the New Zealand flag.- ICL Immigration

An analysis of test results showed that many applicants must improve their target score by a small margin in just one skill area. This new policy addresses this issue, making the testing process more accommodating and less daunting.

Impact on Diverse Applicant Segments

This policy change positively affects various groups of applicants:

  • Skilled Workers: Professionals seeking work visas will find this policy particularly beneficial. Those with strong technical skills but slight shortcomings in a specific language can now focus on improving that aspect.
  • Students: International students often face hurdles in the speaking or writing modules. This change offers them a more viable route to meet language requirements for university admissions.
  • Permanent Residency Applicants: For those aspiring for permanent residency, this policy accelerates the application process by allowing them to concentrate on improving where they fell short rather than revisiting the entire test.

Who Will Be Majorly Impacted

The policy is especially advantageous for individuals from non-English-speaking countries. Countries like India, China, Vietnam, and Brazil, which contribute a considerable portion of migrants and international students to New Zealand, stand to gain significantly. For instance, Indian applicants, who made up about 16% of the skilled migrant category in 2021, often encounter challenges in the speaking module and will now benefit from this targeted retake option.

Benefits Across All Segments

The advantages of this change span across all applicant categories:

  • Reduced Financial Burden: The cost-effectiveness of retaking only one part of the test must be balanced.
  • Time Efficiency: Applicants can now focus on improving one skill, shortening the preparation timeline.
  • Increased Success Rates: Concentrating on enhancing one skill boosts the likelihood of achieving the desired score.

Alternatives to IELTS for Students

Students in New Zealand -ICL Immigration

IELTS is one of many paths to studying in New Zealand for students. Alternatives like TOEFL, PTE Academic, and Cambridge English exams are also widely accepted by New Zealand universities. These tests offer varied formats and may suit different preferences and strengths of students.

It is possible to gain admission in New Zealand without IELTS by submitting scores from other English Language Proficiency (ELP) tests such as PTE, CAE, or ESOL or by showcasing an academic background primarily conducted in English.


Immigration New Zealand’s adoption of the IELTS One Skill Retake policy is a thoughtful and inclusive decision that aligns with the diverse needs of international applicants. It symbolises New Zealand’s commitment to building a global workforce and student community, valuing skills and potential over rigid testing criteria.

At Immigration Consultancies, we are dedicated to helping you navigate these new changes. Whether it’s taking admission to New Zealand universities, exploring alternative language tests, or smoothly going through the visa application process, our team is here to ensure your journey to New Zealand is as seamless as possible. We’re committed to turning your aspirations into reality, one step at a time.

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