TOEFL and PTE Academic Now Accepted As IELTS Alternative for English Test

TOEFL and PTE Academic Now Accepted As IELTS Alternative for English Test

The department has announced that it will accept test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) as alternative English tests for visa applications lodged on or after 23 November 2014.

These tests will be applicable for Australian visa applications including Skilled Migration and Business Innovation & Investment Programs.

“This development affords applicants more choice in providers while also increasing competition within the English language testing market,” said Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash.

In addition, it is expected that scores from the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test will also be accepted from a test taken on or after 1 January 2015 (to coincide with the launch of Cambridge English Language Assessment’s new reporting system).


The TOEFL iBT is taken via the internet. There are more than 50 test dates each year across different test locations around the world.

The test takes approximately 4 hours to complete has the following format:

  • Reading: 60-80 Minutes
  • Writing: 50 Minutes
  • Listening: 60-90 Minutes
  • Speaking: 20 Minutes

TOEFL scores are available online 10 days after the test date and a hard copy is sent approximately 13 days after the test date. You can select the institutions who will receive the score reports sent via an online facility but this cannot be changed after you have taken the test.

The current cost to undertake the TOEFL iBT in Singapore is US$235 – cheaper than the IELTS.

PTE Academic

Overall, the Pearson Test of English Academic takes 3 hours to complete.

  • Reading: 32-41 minutes
  • Listening: 45-57 minutes
  • Speaking and Writing: 77-93 minutes

Score results can be viewed online within 5 working days. It is also possible to forward results to institutions via the online account.

The cost to do the PTE Academic test is USD$250 – slightly more expensive than IELTS. Locations and test dates are less extensive than the TOEFL.

Some important points to note about these changes:

Test Validity

Test results are valid for 3 years – you must lodge your visa application within 3 years of undertaking the test.

Pearson and TOEFL are also now acceptable for establishing Functional English. Functional English is important for determining whether any included dependents need to pay the English Language fees. Tests are only valid for 12 months for the purposes of establishing Functional English.

Summary: IELTS compared to TOEFL iBT and PTE Academic




PTE Academic


30 minutes

60-90 minutes

45-57 minutes


60 minutes

60-80 minutes

32-41 minutes


60 minutes

50 minutes

77–93 minutes (combined with speaking)


11-14 minutes

20 minutes

Duration combined with writing

Total duration

2.7 hours

3.2 to 4 hours

2.6 to 3.2 hours


$310-$320 (Singapore Dollars)

$235 (Singapore Dollars)

$250 (US Dollars)

Click here to download the score equivalent chart of IELTS, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic and OET.

For a consultation schedule, feel free to call us at +65 6299 0245 to discuss your visa options and to find out which test is appropriate for your application. Alternatively, you can attend our Australia immigration seminar for an overview of the process to migrate to Australia.



Skilled Migration: 2014-15 Occupational Ceilings Announced

Skilled Migration: 2014-15 Occupational Ceilings Announced

The Occupational Ceilings for the 2014-15 year have been announced. Changes to the number of places allocated to Engineers, IT Professionals, Accountants, Teachers, Constructions Trades, and Chefs were substantial.

What is an Occupational Ceiling?

An occupational ceiling is the total number of invitations issued by the Australian Immigration Department for a particular occupation under the skilled migration program for an entire financial year.

Where does it apply?

Skilled-Independent Subclass 189 visas and family sponsored Skilled Regional Subclass 489 visas are subjected to occupational ceilings. They do not apply to, State or Territory Nominated, Employer Sponsored or Business Innovation and Investment visa subclasses. This means that states can nominate occupations for Skilled Sponsored Subclass 190 and Skilled Regional Subclass 489 visas even if the ceiling has been reached. Occupational ceilings are only applicable for Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

2014-15 Occupational Ceilings

There have also been some changes in the places available for certain occupations. 2,530 places were added to Engineering occupations and 1,132 places added for IT Professionals. 4,242 places were deducted from Accountants, 1,170 subtracted from Teachers, 2,168 places reduced from Construction Trades and a decrease of 1,353 places from Chefs. Registered Nurses have the largest ceiling with 15,042 places, this is more than double the quota of any other occupational group.

Below is the complete list of the 2014-15 Occupation Ceilings:


Ceiling Value

Construction Managers


Engineering Managers


Production Managers


Child Care Centre Managers


Health and Welfare Services Managers




Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers


Actuaries, Mathematicians and Statisticians


Land Economists and Valuers


Marine Surveyor


Architects and Landscape Architects


Cartographers and Surveyors


Urban and Regional Planners


Chemical and Materials Engineers


Civil Engineering Professionals


Electrical Engineers


Electronics Engineers


Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers


Mining Engineers


Other Engineering Professionals


Agricultural and Forestry Scientists


Medical Laboratory Scientists




Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals


Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers


Secondary School Teachers


Special Education Teachers


Medical Imaging Professionals


Occupational and Environmental Health Professionals


Optometrists and Orthoptists


Chiropractors and Osteopaths


Dental Practitioners


Occupational Therapists






Speech Professionals and Audiologists


Generalist Practitioners




Internal Medicine Specialists






Other Medical Practitioners




Registered Nurses


ICT Business and Systems Analysts 


Software and Applications Programmers 


Computer Network Professionals


Telecommunications Engineering Professionals








Social Workers


Civil Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians


Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians


Telecommunications Technical Specialists


Automotive Electricians


Motor Mechanics


Sheetmetal Trades Workers


Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers


Metal Fitters and Machinists


Precision Metal Trades Workers


Bricklayers and Stonemasons


Carpenters and Joiners


Painting Trades Workers






Wall and Floor tilers






Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics


Electrical Trades Distribution Workers


Electronics Trades Workers




Boat Builders and Shipwrights


Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists


How to Apply?

If you would like to consider your options under any of the skilled migration programs to migrate to Australia, call us at +65 6299 0245 to schedule an appointment to discuss your application. Alternatively, you may complete our free online assessment to check your eligibility.



South Australia Opens Up More Sponsorship, Introduces Chain Migration

South Australia Opens Up More Sponsorship, Introduces Chain Migration

Good news, South Australia had reopened its state sponsorship for skilled migrants. Started on 1 July 2014, many occupations had been relisted as highly available in the state. Even more interesting, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) requirement for some occupations in the list became lower.

Below are the occupations listed under the South Australia skilled nominated occupation list: (The listing may may change without prior notice.)

Chief Executives, General Managers & Legislators
  • Chief Executive or Managing Director
  • Corporate General Manager
Specialist Managers
  • Sales and Marketing Manager
  • Advertising Manager
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Corporate Services Manager
  • Engineering Manager
  • Wholesaler
  • Production Manager (Manufacturing)
  • Production Manager (Mining)
  • Supply and Distribution Manager
  • Medical Administrator
  • Nursing Clinical Director
  • Welfare Centre Manager
  • Health and Welfare Services Managers nec
  • School Principal
  • Faculty Head
  • Regional Education Manager
  • Education Managers nec
  • Chief Information Officer
  • ICT Project Manager
  • Art Administrator or Manager
  • Environmental Manager
  • Laboratory Manager
  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Sports Administrator
Hospitality, Retail & Service Managers
  • Caravan Park and Camping Ground Manager
  • Amusement Centre Manager
  • Fitness Centre Manager
  • Sports Centre Manager
  • Call or Contact Centre Manager
  • Customer Service Manager
  • Fleet Manager
  • Transport Company Manager
  • Cinema or Theatre Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Financial Institution Branch Manager
Arts & Media Professionals
  • Book or Script Editor
Business, Human Resource & Marketing Professionals
  • Commodities Trader
  • Finance Broker
  • Insurance Broker
  • Stockbroking Dealer
  • Financial Dealers nec
  • Financial Investment Adviser
  • Financial Investment Manager
  • ICT Trainer
  • Training and Development Professional
  • Archivist
  • Gallery or Museum Curator
  • Health Information Manager
  • Records Manager
  • Land Economist
  • Valuer
  • Librarian
  • Management Consultant
  • Organisation and Methods Analyst
  • ICT Account Manager
  • ICT Business Development Manager
  • ICT Sales Representative
  • Sales Representative (Industrial Products)
  • Sales Representative (Medical and Pharmaceutical Products)
Design, Engineering, Science & Transport Professionals
  • Surveyor
  • Other Spatial Scientist
  • Mining Engineer (Excluding Petroleum)
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
Education Professionals
  • Early Childhood (Pre-Primary School) Teacher
  • Special Needs Teacher
  • Vocational Education Teacher (Non-Trades)
  • Vocational Education Teacher (Trades)
  • Education Adviser
  • Education Reviewer
  • Art Teacher (Private Tuition)
  • Dance Teacher (Private Tuition)
  • Music Teacher (Private Tuition)
  • Private Tutors and Teachers nec
  • Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages
Health Professionals
  • Environmental Health Officer
  • Occupational Health and Safety Advisor
  • Acupuncturist
  • Naturopath
  • Podiatrist
  • Anaesthetist
  • Specialist Physician (General Medicine)
  • Cardiologist
  • Paediatrician
  • Psychiatrist
  • Surgeon (General)
  • Orthopaedic Surgeon
  • Emergency Medicine Specialist
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Pathologist
  • Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Researcher
  • Nurse Manager
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
  • Registered Nurse (Child And Family Health)
  • Registered Nurse (Community Health)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care And Emergency)
  • Registered Nurse (Disability And Rehabilitation)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical Practice)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
  • Registered Nurse (Surgical)
ICT Professionals
  • ICT Business Analyst
  • Systems Analyst
  • Database Administrator
  • ICT Security Specialist
  • Systems Administrator
  • Computer Network and Systems Engineer
  • Network Administrator
  • Network Analyst
  • ICT Support Engineer
  • ICT Systems Test Engineer
  • Telecommunications Engineer
  • Telecommunications Network Engineer
Legal, Social & Welfare Professionals
  • Judicial and Other Legal Professionals nec
Engineering, ICT & Science Technicians
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Meat Inspector
  • Quarantine Officer
  • Electrical Engineering Draftsperson
  • Electrical Engineering Technician
  • Electronic Engineering Draftsperson
  • Electronic Engineering Technician
  • Maintenance Planner
  • Metallurgical or Materials Technician
  • Mine Deputy
  • Building and Engineering Technicians nec
Automotive & Engineering Trades Workers
  • Fitter (General)
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Fitter-Welder
  • Metal Machinist (First Class)
Construction Trades Workers
  • Painting Trades Workers
  • Glazier
  • Roof Tiler
Electrotechnology & Telecommunications Trades Workers
  • Electrical Linesworker
  • Business Machine Mechanic
  • Communications Operator
  • Electronic Equipment Trades Worker
  • Electronic Instrument Trades Worker (General)
  • Telecommunications Linesworker
  • Telecommunications Technician
Food Trades Workers
  • Cook
Skilled Animal & Horticultural Workers
  • Shearer
Other Technicians & Trades Workers
  • Canvas Goods Fabricator
  • Shoemaker
  • Dressmaker or Tailor
  • Chemical Plant Operator
  • Gas or Petroleum Operator
  • Power Generation Plant Operator
  • Camera Operator (Film, Television or Video)
  • Make Up Artist
  • Musical Instrument Maker or Repairer
  • Sound Technician
  • Diver
  • Interior Decorator
  • Optical Dispenser
  • Optical Mechanic
  • Wool Classer
Health & Welfare Support Workers
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Technician
  • Dental Therapist
  • Diversional Therapist
What visa can I apply for if an Australian state will sponsor me?

The two most popular visa programs that require state sponsorship are the following:

Subclass 190: Permanent (Nominated/Sponsored)

This is a permanent residence visa. To migrate using this visa, you need a sponsorship from an Australian State/ Territory Authority under the State Migration Plan. Your close family member can also sponsor you though no points will be awarded.

This lets you and any family members who have also been granted this visa to:

  • live in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • have Australia healthcare benefits
  • pathway to Australian citizenship (if you are qualified)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • travel to and from Australia for 5 years from the date the visa is granted

Subclass 489: Provisional (Nominated/Sponsored)

If you cannot qualify for a permanent visa initially, you can apply for this 4-year provisional visa. You will need to be prepared to settle and work in a specified regional area of Australia. A sponsorship is required and can come from a participating State/Territory or a close family member living in a designated area of Australia.

This visa allows you and your family to:

  • stay in Australia for up to 4 years
  • live, work and study in a specified regional area of Australia
  • travel in and out of Australia while the visa is valid.
  • Pathway to Australian permanent residence
Chain Migration

A new nomination pathway has been introduced by Immigration South Australia known as the Chain Migration. This system allows applicants with an immediate family member permanently residing in South Australia to apply for a state nominated visa.

The benefits of the chain migration pathway:

  • Ability to apply for a permanent (190) or provisional (489) visa
  • Access to a more extensive occupation list compared to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s (DIBP) Skilled Occupation List (SOL)
  • Instant visa invitation from DIBP once approved for state nomination
  • Priority visa processing with DIBP

To qualify for the chain migration pathway, applicants must:

  • Have completed a Bachelor degree or higher
  • Meet all DIBP criteria and Immigration South Australia criteria
  • Have 60 points on the DIBP points test.

To qualify for the chain migration pathway, the family member in South Australia must:

  • Be the applicant’s grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, brother or sister. Applicants can still apply if it’s a step or adoptive parent/sibling.
  • Be an Australian Permanent Resident or an Australian Citizen
  • Have resided in South Australia for the past twelve months.
How to Apply?

If you would like to consider your options under the visa programs mentioned above, call us at +65 6299 0245 to schedule an appointment to discuss your application. Serious applicants must act fast because slots for sponsorship are rapidly taken. Alternatively, you may complete our free online assessment to check your eligibility to migrate to Australia.



1 July 2014: Changes to Australia’s Occupations List And Skills Assessments

1 July 2014: Changes to Australia’s Occupations List And Skills Assessments

Update on Occupations List

Fortunately, no occupations have been removed from SOL and CSOL. However, new occupations have been added.

Skilled Occupations List (SOL)

The Skilled Occupation List identifies occupations which do not need sponsorship by a state or territory government agency for the applicant to qualify for migration to Australia.

From 1st July, the following occupations will be included in the Skilled Occupations List:

  • Chef
  • Bricklayer
  • Wall and Floor Tiler

The list is also applicable for visa applicants under the Graduate Work stream.

Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL)

The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List identifies occupations that must have sponsorship from a nominated state or territory government agency under a State Migration Plan for the applicant to make an application.

The following occupations have also been added to the CSOL:

  • Hydrogeologist
  • Exercise Physiologist
Changes to Occupation Titles

The following titles will be changed:

  • Marine Surveyor (old title: Ship’s Surveyor)
  • General Practitioner (old title: General Medical Practitioner)
Changes to Assessing Authorities

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) will be assessing the following occupations from 1st July 2014:

  • Nurse Manager
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Researcher

In addition, Marine Transport Professional will be assessed by Vocational Education and Training Assessment Services (VETASSESS).

Skills Assessments Will Be Valid for 3 Years

From 1 July 2014, Skills Assessments will now be valid for a maximum of 3 years for the following visa types:

  • Skilled Independent Subclass 189
  • Skilled Nominated Subclass 190
  • Skilled Regional Sponsored Subclass 489
  • Graduate Temporary Subclass 485
  • Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 (Direct Entry Stream)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Subclass 187 (Direct Entry Stream)

In summary, all Australian migration skills assessments over three years old will expire on 1 July 2014. However, if the skills assessment specifies that expires sooner than 3 years, the shorter validity period would apply. This change in validity period of skills assessment will become parallel with the validity period for English Language tests which is 3 years.

Application Assistance

If you need assistance in applying for Australian visa to migrate to Australia, call us at +65 6299 0245 to book an appointment for consultation or complete our free online assessment to check your eligibility.


Number of Accountancy Places for Migrants to be Limited to 5,000

Number of Accountancy Places for Migrants to be Limited to 5,000

The Abbott government will limit the number of foreign accountants who will be able to get permanent visas from almost 10,000 to about 5,000 starting 1st July 2014. The Australian media has reported that this came after the Australian Workplace and Productivity Agency (AWPA) refused a proposal from the Department of Employment to have accountants removed from the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

Each year, AWPA recommends which occupations be added or removed on the list.

The good news is that foreign workers whose occupation is on the list can apply for a permanent visa without being nominated by a state or territory government agency.

“Lowering this ceiling will not only ensure that the allocation of the program remains appropriate to Australia’s… needs, but will safeguard other in-demand occupations… from being crowded out from excessive accountant applications,” Michaelia Cash, the Assistant Minister for Immigration said.

All occupational groups eligible for Australian skilled migration are subject to an occupational ceiling which can be no more than 6% of that occupation’s workforce in Australia.

It has long argued that accountants would be moved from the Skilled Occupations List and to the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL). Applicants whose occupations are listed under the CSOL must have sponsorship from a state to become qualified. But even though they obtain sponsorship under these occupations, they are not obliged to work on these occupations.

Surprisingly, despite of continues to be a surplus of qualified accountants in Australia there were only 1 of 7 submissions received that called for accountants to be removed from the list. It is expected that the changes to taxation law and regulations will result to a greater need for qualified accountants in Australia over the next few years.

Accountants do not need any work experience to be classified as eligible, just good English language ability and must have studied 9 of the 12 courses that would complete in Australia as part of a Bachelor of Accounting degree.

So far, 5475 accountants were invited to apply this financial year. The financial year in Australia starts every 1st of July and ends every 30th June.

If you are an accountant and have some concerns, you may book an appointment and consult with us or attend our seminar for advice. NTRUST, established in 2003, has helped hundreds of accountants migrate to Australia from Singapore