The Immigration New Zealand announced that, it will accept the Occupational English Test (OET), a specialist English test for healthcare professionals, as proof of English proficiency for most visa categories, effective 21 November, 2016. Previously they accept only IELTS and TOFEL, even though registration authorities of health care professionals accepted the same before other than INZ for visa purposes
International healthcare professionals can now take OET to fulfil the English language requirements for both visa purposes and registration with healthcare boards and councils in New Zealand. In addition, OET can be used as proof of proficiency for admission to healthcare courses.
OET has been providing healthcare-specific English testing for the past 30 years, and the test is already accepted by major healthcare regulators and educators in New Zealand, including the Medical and Nursing Councils and University of Otago.
The New Zealand Immigration website states that hospitals and practices across New Zealand are looking for doctors, midwives, surgeons and 36 other healthcare occupations. It’s estimated that New Zealand will need 380 extra specialists every year to meet the OECD average by 2021, and up to 25,000 more nurses by 2030. (https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/work-in-nz/nz-jobs-industries/healthcare-jobs)
OET helps to fill these gaps by providing proof of English language proficiency, and the opportunity for healthcare professionals to become more competent in English related to their workplace, leading to safer and higher quality care. Unlike many English tests, OET’s writing, reading, listening and speaking tasks use real healthcare scenarios, such as calming a distressed patient or writing a referral letter.
OET CEO, Sujata Stead, says: “Safety and quality of care for patients lies at the heart of OET. By testing English through real healthcare scenarios, regulators and employers can feel confident that professionals who’ve passed OET can communicate effectively in their healthcare workplace.”
“We applaud Immigration New Zealand for giving OET candidates the chance to use their test results for their visa application. We share the common vision of supporting healthcare professionals to successfully contribute within the New Zealand healthcare system,” she concludes.
For more information about the visa categories and accepted OET grades, see the Immigration New Zealand website: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas