Australian ends IELTS/IDP monopoly finally… Now NZ must follow.

The announcement on Friday (yesterday) that Australia will end the monopoly of IELTS and hence also of IDP by accepting three other English Proficiency Tests certainly made my day. Not because that I have hundreds of students unable to take the IELTS (which used to be true two years ago though !), but because the effort and arguments of several of us for years has finally been heard. I too have argued to an extent that was seen as anti-IDP or pro-Others. The fact was simple that the monopoly had led to other complications and was not the way Australia should have proceeded.

Just to recap: A few years ago, possibly 2008 it was, I had led AAERI in arguing that there was a need for alternative options being accepted. This was presented as a submission to the Ministry of Immigration and simultaneously, we dug into the Free Trade Agreement between US and Australia to encourage ETS and TOEFL in arguing that they be accepted in line with the fact that IELTS was being accepted in US. Not many will know that it was our lobbying that led to a senior official fly in to Canberra in that year for a meeting and the Minister of Immigration signed in to an Invitation to other vendors putting forth expressions of interests. That meeting was held hours before the Australian Ministry went into a caretaker mode. The effort didnot end there. The Indian Agent Association kept making repeated submissions and even the submission made in early April to the Student Visa Program Review includes this as one of the considerations. Interestingly, AAERI’s submission that is available on the is amongst the only ones that has this as an ingredient for immediate implementation.

Hence, the announcement is indeed a delight. I would like to congratulate the organized group of education counsellors and also offer my personal thanks to the various officers posted in the Department of Immigration over the years who passed on our anguish and desire to their superiors in Canberra at each instance.

Interestingly, it is now only Immigration New Zealand that accords positive profile to student visa applications that has the IELTS in place of other tests. Honestly, it is a practice only at the Delhi post and not a policy decision of the Immigration New Zealand from Wellington applicable worldwide and am sure that the fact that UK, US and Australia accept several tests in this Free and Global world, will make the Kiwis swing too… They have to keep NZ options open to all students including those who opt to take the other tests which are certainly equal. 

Keeping the focus on the big announcement, do follow the link to find…

Student Visa English Language Requirements

Some Student visa applicants are required to provide the results of an english language test.

To date, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test is one english language test option accepted by the department for Student visa purposes. The department can also accept an english language test result from test of english as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Occupational English Test (OET) in 14 countries where IELTS is not available.

However, the department will shortly be able to accept the following english language test options for Student visa application purposes:

  • TOEFL in all countries
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (Pearson) in all countries
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) from Cambridge ESOL (Cambridge) in all countries.

Equivalency scores for TOEFL, Pearson and Cambridge are being finalised and will be announced shortly. Test results from these alternative test providers (or in the case of TOEFL, from applicants in countries other than the 14 previously specified) will not be accepted for Student visa purposes until after this process has been completed. This is expected to be in place later this year.

The department will continue to accept a test result from IELTS. Current testing arrangements and equivalency scores for IELTS will not change.

The department will be closely monitoring the implementation of the new test providers and a review will be undertaken to determine whether these should be extended for the use with other visa programs.



  1. I wish that NZ immigration also starts accepting other English tests.
    Australia will need to do lot to gain confidence of students to come and study in Australia. Students who are going abroad for studies want to gain some work experience as well after studies.


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