Australia to accept alternative English tests from visa applicants

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Australia has announced that English Test scores of TOEFL iBT and PTE Academic of skilled migrants coming to the country would be acceptable across several visa categories from November.

These tests will be alternatives to the currently accepted International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Occupational English Test (OET).

“From November 2014, the department will accept English language test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) across visa programmes,” according to the Department of Immigration and Border protection.

“The TOEFL iBT and PTE Academic tests have been accepted for the Student visa programme since 2011. From November 2014, the visa subclasses from the Temporary Graduate, Skilled and Work and Holiday visa programmes will also accept a TOEFL iBT or PTE Academic test score as evidence of English ability,” it said.

The Department of Immigration and Border protection has extended the new option to other visa categories including Employer Nomination Scheme, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, business Innovation & Investment (provisional), Skilled – Independent, skilled – Nominated, work and Holiday (temporary), skilled – Recognised Graduate and Temporary Graduate.

Describing the move as an excellent one, a Melbourne- based education expert Intaj Khan said “this is a very good news for the intending migrants wishing to come to Australia.”

“It will allow them to save time as they now would have more options for test centres of giving the English test and it will also break the monopoly of IDP IELTS Test centres,” he cited.

IELTS managed by the IDP is a test designed to assess the language ability of the visa applicants whose primary language is not English but who wish to study or work abroad, where English is the standard language of communication.

However, the new announcement did not include the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and said that the subclass 457 visa programme was currently undergoing an independent review.