Wednesday the 28th of May 2014
Volume 306

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Welcome to the latest edition of IMMIGRATIONews and to the new subscribers. IMMIGRATIONews is proudly sponsored by Australian Immigration Law Services. For new readers you can subscribe using the link on the right hand side. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to any of your friends.


Today, we bring to you updates regarding the Streamline visa processing being extended as well as alternate English language tests.


Extension of streamlined visa processing arrangements




Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP) was first  implemented by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) on 24 March 2012.


Under this arrangement low immigration risk education providers were given SVP status therefore if a student visa applicant had a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from a participating provider, the application would be assessed quickly, as if the student were from an assessment level 1 country regardless of his/her country of birth.


Initially only available to Universities, on 22 March 2014 streamlined visa processing arrangements, were made available to prospective students of selected low immigration risk education providers who offer bachelor, masters or doctoral degree level courses.


On 26 May 2014 the government announced that it intends to further extend streamlined visa processing arrangements to low immigration risk education providers offering advanced diploma level courses.   


'This will enable eligible education providers in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and higher education sector to directly access SVP. This will make study in Australia even more attractive to overseas students, while at the same time ensuring that immigration risk is appropriately managed,' Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said in his press release announcing the intended development.


Education Minister Chris Pyne said that "these changes will substantially benefit Australia's high-quality VET and higher education sectors, supporting the sustainable growth of Australia's international education industry while providing a vital boost to the economy."


'The number of international students seeking to study in Australia continues to rebound positively, with an increase of over 27 per cent in the number of visas granted to offshore applicants in the 2013-14 programme year,' Minister Pyne said.


'Extending SVP arrangements will help capitalise on these trends, reducing red tape and helping to attract further students from overseas.'


Invitations to participate will be sent to eligible providers in the second half of 2014. Subject to relevant legislative change, under the stewardship of the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, the government proposes to implement this extension by early 2015.

Alternate English Language Tests for visa applicants
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 the following visa programmes. 

From November 2014, the following 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. 

  • Distinguished Talent (Australian support) (subclass 124)
  • Business Talent (subclass 132)
  • Former Resident (subclass 151)
  • Business Owner (provisional) (subclass 160)*
  • Senior Executive (provisional) (subclass 161)*
  • Investor (provisional) (subclass 162)*
  • State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner (provisional) (subclass 163)*
  • State/Territory Sponsored Senior Executive (provisional) (subclass 164)*
  • State/Territory Sponsored Investor (provisional) (subclass 165)*
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187)
  • Business Innovation & Investment (provisional) (subclass 188)
  • Skilled - Independent (subclass 189)
  • Skilled - Nominated (subclass 190)
  • Work and Holiday (temporary) (subclass 462)
  • Skilled - Recognised Graduate (subclass 476)
  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)
  • Skilled - Regional (provisional) (subclass 489)
  • Distinguished Talent (subclass 858)
  • Skilled - Regional (subclass 887)
  • 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)

*Closed to new applications, but family members can apply

These tests are alternatives to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Occupational English Test (OET).


For those wondering why the 457 visa isn't included in the list the department websites states "The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) visa is not included in this list at this time because the subclass 457 visa programme is currently undergoing an independent review.  Any updates about English language testing for the subclass 457 visa will be published on the department's website later this year."


Test scores from the TOEFL iBT and PTE Academic tests will be benchmarked against the IELTS equivalent score for each English language proficiency level (Functional, Vocational, Competent, Proficient or Superior). 


A summary of test score equivalencies for all English language tests accepted by the department from November 2014 is provided in the table below:  

English Language proficiency levelTest componentIELTSTOEFL iBTPTE AcademicOET
FunctionalAverage across test components only4.53230n/a
Proficient (for points tested Skilled visas)Listening7.02465B
Superior (for points tested Skilled visas)Listening8.02879A

Note: Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test score equivalencies will be available from January 2015.

From November 2014, intending migrants submitting an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect will be able to provide test scores from the TOEFL iBT or PTE Academic tests.


The department is also planning to accept test scores from the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test for all visa programmes from early 2015 (final implementation date to be confirmed). 

 Scores from a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test taken before the 2015 implementation date will not be accepted by the department.

You can find more information about these tests on the following websites:


For information about:

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