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TOEFL-PBT no longer accepted for Subclass 500 (Student) visa

The Department of Home Affairs, Australia has removed the ‘Test of English as a Foreign Language Paper-Based test’ (TOEFL-PBT) as an accepted evidence to establish an applicant’s English language proficiency Subclass 500 (Student) visa. The change was made through a legislative instrument released on 5 June 2018.

Earlier, TOEFL-PBT used to be accepted as an evidence for the English language proficiency of Subclass 500 (Student) visa applicants. But on October 14, 2017, an external agency revised TOEFL-PBT as a result of which, the test no longer includes a measurement of speaking. Testing the English language speaking skills of an applicant is essential to ensure that he/she can communicate effectively face-to-face with other people once they reach Australia. This is the reason why TOEFL-PBT was removed as an evidence to establish the English language proficiency of a Subclass 500 (Student) visa applicant.

However, transitional arrangements have been made for the students who have already completed. Exemptions have been made for the Subclass 500 (Student) visa applicants who have:

  • Completed the TOEFL-PBT before 14 October 2017
  • achieved the specified TOFEL-PBT test score within:

-Two years immediately before the date of the visa application, if the evidence is provided along with the application

-Two years immediately before a decision to grant or refuse the visa application is made, if evidence is not provided at the time of visa application

  • If the applicant completed the TOEFL-PBT on or after 14 October 2017 but before the commencement of this instrument
  • If the applicantachieved the specified TOFEL-PBT test score within:

-Two years immediately before the date of the visa application if the evidence of the test is provided at the time of application

-Two years immediately before a decision to grant or refuse the visa application is made, if evidence of the test is not provided at the time the visa application is made

All other English language requirements remain the same. The new instrument also specifies the required levels of English language proficiency to meet the criteria for the Subclass 500 (Student) visa. These include the recognized English language tests, the required English language test scores and the time periods in which an English test must be taken.

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