In a significant development affecting international students and immigrants, the Australian government has announced the removal of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as an accepted language proficiency test for visa applications.
The decision, which comes into effect immediately, has raised questions and concerns among prospective applicants who were planning to use TOEFL scores to demonstrate their English language skills.
TOEFL, a widely recognised English language proficiency test, has been utilised by numerous students and individuals seeking Australian visas to showcase their ability to communicate effectively in English. However, as of August 11, 2023, the Australian government has discontinued accepting TOEFL scores as a valid measure of English proficiency for visa purposes.
The Department of Home Affairs, responsible for immigration and visa matters, stated that the decision to remove TOEFL from the list of accepted tests was taken after a thorough review of various English language testing options.
According to a department spokesperson, “The Australian government is committed to maintaining high standards of English proficiency to ensure that individuals coming to Australia can fully participate in education and employment opportunities. After careful consideration, it has been decided that other language proficiency tests better align with these standards.”
As an alternative to TOEFL, the Australian government will continue to accept scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Pearson Test of English (PTE), the Occupational English Test (OET) and the Cambridge English exams. These tests are regarded as more comprehensive assessments of an individual’s English language abilities, covering areas such as speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
Prospective applicants are advised to review the updated visa requirements on the official Department of Home Affairs website and choose an English proficiency test accordingly. While TOEFL scores will no longer be accepted, individuals who have already submitted visa applications with TOEFL scores before the announcement will still be processed under the old guidelines.
International education consultants suggest that applicants who are planning to use TOEFL should promptly make arrangements to take one of the accepted tests instead to avoid any disruptions in their visa application process.
As Australia adapts its visa requirements to reflect evolving language proficiency standards, potential immigrants and students are urged to stay informed about policy changes to ensure a smooth transition to studying and living there.
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Dr. Akram Ahmad is a clinical pharmacist and lecturer with over 10 years of teaching and research experience across various subjects of medicine in India, Malaysia and Australia. He is an educationist and a medpreneur with extensive knowledge of the global healthcare diaspora. Through his articles, videos and engaging sessions, he always aims to impart unexplored knowledge about the healthcare world to interested students and professionals.