Student Visa - Changes in English Language Tests

English Language Test Changes for Subclass 500 (Student) Visas

The “Test of English as a Foreign Language – Paper Based Test” (TOEFL-PBT), previously one of the tests accepted by the Department of Home Affairs for Subclass 500 (Student) visas as a means of establishing an applicant’s English language proficiency, has ceased to be specified as an acceptable English language test.

Why was it removed?

On 14th October 2017, following revisions by an agency outside the Department of Home Affairs, measurements of English speaking were removed from the TOEFL-PBT and as these measurements remain a requirement of assessment, the test was no longer considered appropriate.

The Department requires testing of English language speaking skills in order to ensure that applicants have the ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations whilst in Australia.

Tests remain

Irrespective of the removal of this particular test, each applicant will still be required to provide evidence which demonstrates that his or her level of English proficiency meets the requirements as specified in 500.213(3)(a) of Schedule 2 to the Regulations; namely, a level which meets the criteria for the Subclass 500 (Student) visa.

The English language proficiency requirements, as specified in Part 2 of the instrument, include the following:

  • The English language tests;
  • The English language test scores; and
  • The time periods in which an English test must be taken.

Of course, transitional arrangements apply for applicants who have already completed their TOEFL-PBT.

The revised instrument contains provisions for Subclass 500 applicants who;

  • completed the TOEFL-PBT prior to 14th October 2017
  • achieved the specified TOFEL-PBT score as specified in IMMI 16/019 (previous instrument specifying relevant English scores for student visas) within two years immediately preceding the date of visa application; or
  • despite no evidence of English being provided at the time of application, can provide same prior to a decision being made, with that test being completed within the two years immediately prior to a decision being made.

More information

A full version of the new instrument may be viewed on –

Alternatively, if confronting, it may be advisable to consult a migration professional.

Expert advice and assistance can simplify the most daunting challenges

In the complex and rapidly changing world of immigration law, nothing is constant and nothing is simple. It really does pay dividends therefore, to obtain professional assistance, skilled practitioners who are specialised in the field, comprehensively trained to recognise the traps and the trends; achieving the finest possible outcomes in the shortest possible time, whilst avoiding so much unnecessary expense.

For more information on this or on any relating issues, contact the migration experts – Sellanes Clark and Associates – specialising in all immigration matters.



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