Some people seeking permanent residence in New Zealand are required to meet a minimum standard of English language attainment. In most cases it is people aged 16 years and over migrating through the Skilled and Business immigration policies who are required to meet this standard. Principal applicants can demonstrate an English speaking background or meet the English language requirements by passing an English language assessment test.
Since November 1998, non-principal applicants under the Skilled and Business categories (and principal Business applicants prior to November 2002) who do not meet the minimum English language standards have been required to pre-purchase English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training. There are some concerns about the level of take-up of this tuition. This research provides data on the numbers and characteristics of migrants who pre-purchase ESOL tuition and on the take-up (and non take-up) of the tuition.
The methodology involved a quantitative analysis of TEC and DoL data on the pre-purchased ESOL scheme. There were two main parts to the research. The first part involved an analysis of TEC data to describe the characteristics of those who had pre-purchased tuition and on the take-up of tuition. The second part involved matching TEC records with those from the DoL’s Immigration database to further explore the characteristics of those who had not taken up tuition, including time spent absent from New Zealand. No individuals are identified and the data is only presented as statistics.
The DoL and TEC (formally Skill New Zealand) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out the means by which the pre-purchased ESOL programme is implemented. The DoL provides eligible migrants with information about the pre-purchase scheme before their residence application is approved. The DoL then determines the level of English language training to be purchased by each eligible migrant and ensures that each migrant signs an agreement with TEC. The DoL’s Immigration database contains data on eligible migrants who have purchased English language training, and DoL supply this data to TEC each month. TEC keeps data on the demographic characteristics of migrants who have pre-purchased ESOL tuition, the amount of their entitlement, the number who have taken up their training entitlement, the regional location of the training provider and the types of training providers.