Three English tests added for Aus student visa applicants

Three English tests added for Aus student visa applicants

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen has announced the US-based TOEFL and two other English language competency tests, apart from the existing International English Language Testing System, will be expanded for use by applicants from all countries.

Apart from Test of English as a Foreign Language, Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) and Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) from Cambridge ESOL will shortly be added to the IELTS for student visa purposes as specified in the Migration Regulations 1994, the department said in a statement.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said it was anticipated that these new tests will be accepted for student visa applications later this year.

In Australia, currently, students from key markets, such as India, had to furnish an IELTS score as proof of English proficiency to qualify for a student visa. Globally, IELTS is owned by Cambridge University, IDP and the British Council.

"We have given careful consideration when selecting these three English language test providers to ensure that high standards of integrity are maintained and that test score results are appropriately safeguarded," Bowen said.

"The integrity of English language testing is important because the language test results are a key component in visa application requirements.

"These additional English language test options will help to create competition in the English language testing market, while creating more test places for student visa applicants. They will also provide candidates with greater choice and enable them to more quickly obtain test results needed for visa applications," he said.

However, most controversy about English tests has focused on their role in selecting former international students for permanent residency as skilled migrants.

This is less of an issue now that the Government has weakened the education-migration link although IELTS also remains the required test for the growth category of skilled migrants sponsored by employers.