TEST providers in competition with the International English Language Testing Sytem are about to gain entry to the student visa market. However I am unsure as to what this would mean in light of the visa reports that are to be implemented over the next six months… where it is recommended by Mike Knight and accepted by DIAC that the onus of student meeting the english requirement will shift in some ways from set DIAC requirements to the judgment of the Universities… Anyways the report in today’s THE AUSTRALIAN states in an article titled COMPETITION COMES TO IELTS…
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.
In May, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced an end to the IELTS monopoly over tests for student visas.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has been working with test providers on a table of equivalent scores for each test.
DIAC began a review of the IELTS monopoly in 2008. The monopoly remains intact for some other visa categories.
The monopoly is no longer so significant because policy change has made it harder for overseas students to secure skilled migration visas, which still require an IELTS result.
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.