High standard of English required for students seeking residency in Australia

Students seeking opportunities for tertiary studies in Australia require excellent English skills if they are to join the workforce in Australia on completion of studies. Many professions are already raising the bar for English. Students seeking to be employed in the skill of accountant and related skills are now required to obtain a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 overall and for all 4 components in the academic stream. Without English at this level they cannot even submit a skills assessment application that has to precede a residency application.

Those intending to enter the profession of Nursing too are now required to obtain IELTS minimum score of 7.0 in the academic stream as per the assessing authority - The Nursing and Midwifery Board.
Majority of the sponsorships available from different states and territories for most wanted skills in Australia have a provision to the effect that applicants must have IELTS at 7.0 level or more. The emphasis is that those who wish to join the Australian workforce should be able to communicate effectively - verbally and in writing. There is a likelihood that this level may be raised to 8.0 for selected skills in certain States.

On the other hand most students who undertake courses of studies in Australia at undergraduate or postgraduate levels are required to sit IELTS on completion of studies if they decide to seek residency in Australia. According to the new point scheme applicable for skilled migration for students who commenced studies from July 2010 onwards, a school leaver having done an undergraduate course in Australia will fall short of the required points if the IELTS score is 7.0. Without IELTS at 8.0 level it will be impossible for such students to get the points required to seek residency in Australia.

The Australian Representative office of Edlocate in Australia is contacted regularly by numerous students who are unable to reach the required IELTS score of 7.0 to seek residency. Some of them are postgraduate students who are professionals. This office in Australia thus keeps the counselling staff in Colombo constantly reminded of the need to brief students properly of the high English communication skills required.

Edlocate is a responsible university representative and a Streamlined Student Agency appointed by the Australian High Commission in Colombo to handle pre visa assessment for students and give PVA approvals. Edlocate counsellors both in Colombo and Kandy always advise students not to link education with migration. However majority of students are interested in seeking residency in Australia on completion of studies. Our students are counselled about the reality of the situation with regard to residency applications by students whose English communication skills are average.

We advise parents too of the possibility of ultimately shattering their hopes if their aim is for the child to migrate to Australia. We believe that it is the responsibility of a professional student representative to explain to students and their parents that "scraping through" IELTS to gain entry to a course of studies in an Australian institution should not be considered good enough if a student is aiming to seek residency or considering the possibility of joining the workforce.

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