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Alternative English Language Tests, Closure of Certain Family Visas

The contents of this article are correct as at 30 May 2014.

On 23 May 2014, the Immigration Department announced that it will accept English Language test scores from the following testing bodies from November 2014:

  • Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT);and
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

The exact date when the change will be effective in November has yet to be announced.

These tests will become alternatives to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Occupational English Test (OET) for the following visa subclasses:

  • Skilled – Independent (subclass 189)
  • Skilled – Nominated (subclass 190)
  • Skilled – Recognised Graduate (subclass 476)
  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)
  • Skilled – Regional (provisional) (subclass 489)
  • Skilled – Regional (subclass 887)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187)
  • Work and Holiday (temporary) (subclass 462)
  • Distinguished Talent (Australian support) (subclass 124)
  • Distinguished Talent (subclass 858)
  • Business Talent (subclass 132)
  • Former Resident (subclass 151)
  • Business Innovation & Investment (provisional) (subclass 188)
  • Business Innovation and Investment (permanent) (subclass 888)
  • Business Owner (Residence) (subclass 890)
  • Investor (Residence) (subclass 891)
  • State/Territory Sponsored Business owner (Residence) (subclass 892)
  • State/Territory Sponsored Investor (Residence) (subclass 893)

For visa subclasses within the SkillSelect program, prospective applicants may also tender their Expression of Interest using TOEFL iBT or PTE Academic language tests from November 2014.

The Department has further indicated that it will also accept English Language test scores from Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) tests in early 2015 although there is currently no news as to which visa subclasses the CAE test will be valid for.

At this stage the changes do not appear to apply to subclass 457 Temporary work visas. The Department cites the fact that the 457 visa programme is currently undergoing independent review and any changes to the English language testing for the subclass will be announced later on in the year.

In other news, the Department announced that it will not accept any applications for the following visa subclasses from 2 June 2014:

  • Parent (subclass 103)
  • Aged Parent (subclass 804)
  • Aged Dependent Relative (114)
  • Remaining Relative (115)
  • Carer (116)
  • Remaining Relative (835)
  • Carer (836)
  • Aged Dependent Relative (838).

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