20 May 2011

Alternative English language tests added for Australian student visa applicants

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Student visa applicants will be able to use the 'Test of English as a Foreign Language' (TOEFL) US-based testing for English language competency, Australian Immigration minister Chris Bowen announced today.

Australian student visa

Student visa applicants will now be able to use the TOEFL test to provide evidence of their English language ability.

The move by the Australian government to allow student visa applicants to use the 'Test of English as a Foreign Language' (TOEFL) test when demonstrating English language ability is one that will be of interest to anyone looking to apply for skilled Australia immigration.

One of the changes to the skilled immigration application process that is set to be implemented on 1 July with the new Australian points test is that all skilled migrants will be required to take an English language test. Under existing rules, only test results from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are permitted and applicants are only required to take it if they need to demonstrate competency in English or are using the test to obtain further points.

Students have also had to use the IELTS testing system but along with the introduction of TOEFL, Mr. Bowen has said he expects the Pearson Test of English Academic and the Cambridge English: Advanced Tests schemes to receive official recognition for student visas later this year.

"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.

Mr Bowen went to suggest that other visa categories could eventually open up to competition between English language tests, although he would look closely at how the new tests perform with student visas first.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australia visa application with Australia House London

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