English Test......Do I really have to do it?
Understanding the complexity of the entire Australian skilled migration process is such a challenging task. Add the fact that as you go further with your research, you realise that before you could even deal with the Australian government, you will need to first look into a separate organisation in charge of assessing your qualification and skills to match the Australian standards. A positive skills assessment together with your 60-point score on the Australia Skilled Immigration Points Test is an indication that you may then proceed to liaise with the government for your visa application.
The English language ability is a particular requirement you would encounter from the government and some skills assessing authorities. Fortunately for native English speakers like the British citizens, demonstrating this ability is not necessary most of the time but of course there are some exceptions.
The Australian states and territories as well as the immigration department do not require citizens of the UK, Republic of Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand to provide evidence of competence in the English language skills. However, demonstrating your skill level as proficient or superior comes in as a bonus due to the fact that you could easily acquire 10 to 20 additional points on the Points Test score giving you higher chances to be eligible for a skilled visa.
So how do you officially prove your English language skill level? It’s simple, you just need to take the English language test wherein your English will be assessed under 4 categories: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The most popular test is the IELTS but not known to many, there are also other recognised once such as PTE Academic, OET, TOEFL iBT, and Cambridge (CAE).
You can claim 10 points for English language ability if you demonstrate a proficient level in English and 20 points for you get a superior level.
SKILLS ASSESSING AUTHORITIES
Each occupation in the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and in the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL) has the relevant assessing authority in charge of determining the required skills needed to match the Australian standards. Most authorities do not require applicants to provide English language ability. However, some occupations like engineers, accountants, nurses, midwives and teachers are required to demonstrate this criteria.
The Engineers Australia (EA) is the assessing body for engineers. As part of its requirement, a skills assessment applicant must demonstrate at least a competent level in English which is an IELTS score of 6 on all four categories – listening, reading, writing and speaking. It does not accept alternative English test results. However, native English speaker are exempted from this requirement.
For accountants, there are three assessing authorities to choose from when applying for skills assessment. These are Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia (CPAA), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA), and Institute of Public Accountant (IPA). All three authorities require applicants to provide evidence of proficient level of English, this includes the English native speakers. IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic, and CAE are the English test results recognised by the authorities.
Nurses and midwives also have to satisfy the requirements imposed by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) in order to achieve a successful skills assessment outcome. English skills being one of the five main criteria to meet, all applicants must provide evidence of proficiency level which is a minimum overall score of 7 in IELTS Academic with a minimum score of 7 in each of the four categories – listening, reading, writing and speaking. ANMAC also accepts the equivalent score results from OET, PTE Academic, and TOEFL iBT. It is possible to be exempted from the English skills criteria through modified skills assessment application only for applicants who are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) requires all teachers applying for skills assessment to satisfy the English language skills by providing IELTS Academic score result of at least 7 for both reading and writing and a minimum score of 8 for both speaking and listening. The exception for this requirement only applies to those who have completed at least four full years of study in university in Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States.
WHICH ENGLISH TEST TO TAKE?
Generally speaking, having five different English tests to choose from is already enough to make you confused. Best is to get more information about all these tests since one is delivered differently from the other. Find out what you have to do during the exam, where and when you can take it, or how many times you could do it. Of course costing is a factor too. The most important to know is how do you prepare for it. Do not overestimate your English knowledge just because you are a native speaker. Though there is not much to study on the language part compared to those whose English come as their second language, be mindful that it is still an exam. Therefore you still need to be physically, mentally and emotionally prepared when you turn up on that day. You will find plenty of free practice exams online for each English test type. Have a feel of all the five different tests and choose which one you think you would feel most comfortable with to increase your chances of scoring higher. Also, you can find a lot of helpful tips on what to expect on the day of your exam with just surfing the net. So by all means, grab as much tips as you can, they are free! In this way, it will also help you condition yourself for the big day.
Surprisingly, despite the fact that native English speakers are indeed good in using the language, some still fail to meet the required score not because they lack the knowledge and ability but because of simply just turning up on the day without any clue of how the test is like or what they should be doing during the exam. Remember that preparation is key!
ENGLISH IS YOUR SAVING GRACE
Demonstrating the English language skill most likely would come as an unwelcome task for you especially when you could not speak any other language but English. However, if you look at things from a different perspective, the opportunity to be able to sit on a test which you know you would not need to study for should rather be embraced as this might be your saving grace to get you to live your Australian dream. So consider yourself lucky. After all, who would refuse an additional 10 or even 20 points as a bonus? Good luck!