Until now, competition in the student visa market for English language testing has been non-existent, with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) experiencing a monopoly over the market. Amongst a number of changes to the Australian international student visa program recently announced by DIAC, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced an end to this monopoly.
The Australian recently reported on the news of competition being introduced to the IELTS;
TEST providers in competition with the International English Language Testing System are about to gain entry to the student visa market.
After November 5, immigration officials will accept results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Pearson's PTE Academic test and the Cambridge English Advanced test, the HES understands.
Under current rules, student visa applicants from so-called high-risk countries, such as China and India, must show an IELTS result as evidence of English proficiency.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has been working with test providers on a table of equivalent scores for each test.
This change, and the related decline in offshore visa applications, has reduced the size of the English test market.
As well, the Knight reforms will give universities a streamlined visa process next year, meaning that would-be students from the biggest market, China, will no longer need to show English competence to secure a visa.
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If you have any queries about the relevance of English language testing to your potential visa, and the scores required, contact Australian Migration & Visa Lawyers to speak to one of our friendly Registered Migration Agents.