IELTS & OET News Tracker: June 2023

Jun 12, 2023 | IELTS Test

Here are the latest updates regarding immigration and IELTS developments in the last 30 days.

The Latest IELTS News

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The following stories surrounding the IELTS exam have developed since May…

British Council Enhances IELTS Accessibility To Filipinos By Expanding Test Venue Options

In 2023, the British Council seems dedicated to enhancing IELTS accessibility for Filipinos. They’ve now started to demonstrate this by introducing additional official test centres across the country. Partnering with 9.0 Niner IELTS Review centre, Roman Canadian Immigration Services, and International Language Studies (CPILS), the British Council has successfully incorporated five new locations, with plans to open more centres in the upcoming months. The newly established test centres are situated in Cebu City, Lips, Makati and Manila.

These new test centres are offering students the two options of taking the IELTS on paper or on a computer. Computer tests are to be available on multiple days a week, allowing for flexibility. 

With these developments, the British Council hopes to accommodate more test takers in the Philippines and provide the service to a much wider community with the opening of their new locations.

New Writing Descriptors

The IELTS partners have published new IELTS Writing descriptors! 

The new descriptors have been published in their entirety online. There is no longer a public version, and the descriptors published online are the same as the versions used by examiners.

This gives greater transparency than ever before on how your score is graded.

You can see the Writing descriptors here. The full version of the Speaking descriptors can also be found here.

International Migration News

International Migration News by Andrew Turner

Here are some of the stand-out migration developments in countries from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Visa Free Travel To Canada Now Includes 13 New Countries

Immigration minister Sean Fraser has announced certain applicants from the additional 13 countries could be eligible for visa-free travel. 

With the addition of 13 countries to the electronic travel authorisation (eTA) program, passport owners from these countries will now have the ability to travel to Canada without needing a temporary residence visa (TRV).

Air passengers from these countries will have to have had a Canadian visa in the past ten years or currently own a valid United States non-immigrant visa to qualify. Those people travelling to Canada by car, bus, train and boat will still have to require a visitor visa. 

The following countries have been added to the eTA program:


– Antigua and Barbuda

– Argentina

– Costa Rica

– Morocco

– Panama

– Philippines

– St. Kitts and Nevis

– St. Lucia

– St. Vincent and the Grenadines

– Seychelles

– Thailand

– Trinidad and Tobago

– Uruguay


Canada’s immigration minister has said: “Introducing visa-free air travel will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for thousands of travellers to visit Canada for up to six months for either business or leisure”.

It’s hoped that this change will further promote tourism in Canada as well as help to grow Canada’s economy and allow visa applicants to be processed more effectively.

There are two categories of visitor visas that Canada currently offers, single entry and multiple entry. The single-entry visa permits foreign nationals to enter Canada once, while those holding multiple-entry visas can freely enter and exit the country as often as desired during the visa’s validity period. Visitor visas are typically granted for up to six months, although the specific duration is determined by the immigration officer handling each case.

For those who have children or grandchildren residing in Canada, you may be eligible for the super visa for parents and grandparents. This multiple-entry visa allows extended stays of up to two years, granting valuable time to spend with loved ones.

If you wish to extend your visitor visa while in Canada, it is only possible if your current temporary status remains valid. It is crucial to avoid remaining in Canada with an expired visitor visa and without an ongoing extension application, as it may negatively impact any future immigration requests. If you submit an extension application before your visa expires, you can remain in Canada under implied status until a decision is reached on your application.

Business travellers heading to Canada may require a business visitor visa; however, it is important to note that this visa does not cover temporary foreign workers. Separate work permits are necessary for direct engagement in the Canadian labour market.

Australia Is Set To Revise its Point-Based Immigration System 

Australia has recently announced that there will be a revamp to its current migration system, designed to attract more skilled workers that will lead to permanent residency, to address the growing preference of skilled individuals for countries like Canada over Australia. The Australian government recognises the competition in the global market and aims to implement new migration policies that will entice skilled migrants to share their expertise to the local labour market. To achieve this, the government is set to revamp its point-based migration system and remove some of the quotas and limitations that are currently in place.

Fiona Wong, Partner at Gilton Valeo Lawyers, Corporate Immigration Lawyer, commented, “Canada’s points test is innovative and focused on simplified eligibility criteria, generous visa conditions (i.e. broad work rights), accelerated processing, a seamless application journey and deliberate marketing. It is not state-based as its constitution requires the federal and provincial governments to share responsibility for migration.”

The Australian government has put forward a proposal to leverage the expertise of the states and territories as well as enhancing data collection and sharing among various governmental bodies as Australia undertakes a review of its migration system. The place-based strategy aims to streamline the existing visa system associated with the points-based programs, eliminating the siloed approach at the state and territory levels.

Further Reading

If you want to keep abreast of the latest developments, follow Our Blog, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for up-to-the-minute news.

See you in July!

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