Tougher English test could cut thousands of skilled migrants from New Zealand, say critics

The Government has recently toughened its English language requirements for residency, but thousands of skilled immigrants are not making the grade, say critics. 

Critics say thousands of skilled migrants are not making the grade, but that Kiwis would struggle too with the test. Source: 1 NEWS

Some say even most New Zealanders would struggle to pass and are calling for change. 

The changes were brought in in October, with the English test results now making up a larger proportion of the overall score. 

Lawyer and former associate Foreign Affairs Minister Matt Robson said the test is too hard for those who want to work in manual jobs, such as chefs, bakers or labourers.

He said the changes should never have been made.

"There are thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of migrants to New Zealand who would never pass these tests, but have built businesses, have built careers, have fitted well into their community," he said. 

The Government said the public expect new residents will have an acceptable level of English, and that anyone who is competent in the language should be able to pass these tests.