IELTS & OET News Tracker: September 2023

Sep 12, 2023 | IELTS Test

Here are the latest IELTS and immigration news updates since we left you in August.

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The Latest IELTS News

The first story shows how students applying to study in Canada only need to achieve a band score of 6.0 on the IELTS test…

Students applying to study in Canada only need to achieve an IELTS band score of 6.0

Applying to study in Canada through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) requires students to attain a minimum overall IELTS band score of 6.0. 

However, the previous requirement of obtaining a score of 6.0 in every section of the IELTS test has been abandoned. This decision has been made to highlight the more comprehensive abilities of the test-takers rather than focusing on the scores of specific sections.

Piyush Kumar, Regional Director- South Asia and Mauritius, IDP Education Ltd, commented, “This update represents a positive shift towards recognising the comprehensive abilities of test-takers rather than focusing solely on individual band scores.” He further noted, “We believe this change will provide greater opportunities for talented students worldwide to pursue their educational goals in Canada and also reflects authorities’ confidence in IELTS.”

This adjustment aims to expand prospects for international students aspiring to pursue higher education in Canada. By placing more emphasis on a student’s overall ability rather than isolated sections, it will aim to increase the number of students who are accepted into Canadian educational institutions, thus broadening the horizons of global education.

This development not only encourages an increase of student applicants but also aligns with the fundamental purpose of the IELTS examination – to assess English language proficiency for higher education and global migration. 

International Migration News

International Migration News by Andrew Turner

If you’re looking to study or work overseas, then the following two stories may be of interest to you.

Reforms in the Australian Student Visa System Pave the Pathway for Migration Opportunities

Under new reforms announced by the Australian Federal Government, international students aspiring to study in Australia will now be given the opportunity to migrate as part of their visa applications.

Currently, overseas student applicants are obligated to meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE). This requirement restricts their stay in Australia to the duration of their university degree program.

To meet the GTE requirement, applicants must produce a 300-word statement outlining their personal circumstances that led to the decision to pursue education in Australia. However, until now, they were prohibited from expressing any intent to seek permanent residency in Australia through this program.

Individuals attempting to use the student visa pathway solely as a means to secure long-term employment and permanent residency within the country faced rejection.

In light of the current Labor government’s commitment to boost immigration efforts, driven by recent reviews highlighting notable shortcomings in the sector, it is anticipated that the GTE condition will be eliminated. This policy allows prospective migrants to articulate their aspirations.

Under these changes, international students will have the opportunity to express their intention to pursue Australian migration while lodging their visa applications.

It is also expected that the visa requirements will transition to a Genuine Student Test (GST). This framework will consider highly skilled applicants capable of making significant contributions to Australia’s workforce upon completing their studies. This approach aims to address the nation’s labour shortages.

One of the key growth areas identified in the Migration Review’s final report, released in March, stated: “Australia is not focused enough on capturing high potential international students”.

“The migration system has supported strong growth in the education export sector. The Student visa program should be an important source of high-performing, skilled migrants but has not delivered on its potential,” stated in the report.

It also recommended Student Visa rules be expanded to ensure the country’s labour force was maximising the “opportunity to support and retain the best and brightest” university graduates and move to introduce a GST pathway.

Prominent figures within the education sector have persistently advocated for this reform, contending that it has the potential to significantly alleviate shortages in vocational positions that are currently unfulfilled by domestic workers.

The CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, told The Australian, “They throw them out if you dare mention that you would like to get a migration outcome from study in Australia; you are automatically denied a student visa.”

“Too many genuine student applicants have been denied entry merely for being honest about what they hope to achieve when they graduate with a world-class Australian qualification.

For those who do want to stay – and if we want to attract the skills that we need, particularly in STEM and allied health – then we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face by denying them entry because they wouldn’t mind migrating to Australia.”

However, there is a potential concern that these changes may trigger an increase in fraudulent visa applications from individuals who have no genuine intention of pursuing education.

Judith Sloan, The Australian’s Economic Editor, stated that the Federal Government’s visa programs have “major holes”, which has led to Melbourne becoming overcrowded. “At the moment, for example, there is a Visa category which…

In April, several Australian universities announced they would be imposing restrictions on students from certain parts of South Asia after finding a rampant pattern of fraudulent visa applications.

There is also the critique of an increase in net migration leading to an even worse-off housing market, given the nation’s crippling housing supply issues at present.

According to the budget papers in March, Australia’s net overseas migration is set to soar by 750,000 people over the next two years and almost 1.5 million within the next five.

Labor has faced mounting calls from the Greens and the Coalition for further investment into affordable housing but instead moved towards a $3 billion funding commitment to build 1.2 million homes over the next five years.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called these “the most significant reforms to housing policy in a generation”.

With this new opportunity, now’s the time to start your IELTS preparation and start planning your future.

New Zealand Updates AEWV Visa Standards

Immigration New Zealand has recently revealed changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), set to take effect from November 27, 2023. These adjustments primarily pertain to the permitted duration of stay for AEWV holders. 

Those individuals who earn at least the median wage in New Zealand will now have the opportunity to secure an AEWV for a maximum term of five years. Individuals employed in the care workforce sector will be eligible for a three-year AEWV if they are paid at levels 3 or 4. 

To be eligible for a maximum continuous stay period of five years, AEWV holders must be: 

– paid at least the median wage

– covered by the care workforce sector agreement, paid at level 4, or

– covered by the transport or seasonal snow/adventure tourism sector agreements. 

Upon reaching the conclusion of their designated maximum stay under the AEWV, individuals are required to spend a minimum of 12 months outside New Zealand before they can reapply. However, an exemption has been established for individuals following a pathway to New Zealand residency. 

For those who obtained approval for an AEWV before November 27, 2023, the opportunity to apply for an extension is available if they meet the criteria for an extended visa duration. Employers are not obliged to re-advertise the AEWV holder’s position or submit a new job check application during this renewal process, provided that the visa conditions remain unchanged. 

Following these changes, preparing for the IELTS is more important than ever. Take advantage of this opportunity and improve your English skills with the help of an expert. Get in touch today and start your IELTS journey with us.

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 September!

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