485 and IELTS

There is certain concern about the new policy on submission of 485 visa. The IELTS result must be known before an application can be lodged. With the lack of available IELTS test places and the imminent student visa expiry date of 15 March, 2009, there is a general panic. I have sought clarification on this issue. Ms Liz Kerrish, manager of BSPC has kindly confirmed the following:-

New graduates who need to meet the deadline of their visa expiry dates can apply for 485 without an IELTS result provided that they have sat for one. The date and details of that test must be clearly indicated in their application. The decision on the 485 application will depend on the result of that particular IELTS test. If the applicant fails or does not obtain sufficient score for that particular test, his/her application will be refused even if subsequently he/she resits IELTS and obtains the right score.

Alternatively, they can apply for a Visitor Visa with no work right. As soon as they get their IELTS result, they can apply using the fast-track checklist for priority processing. Exception will be some trade occupations which are under scrutiny.

Another clarification is on the English Language requirement for secondary applicant for 885/886 visa. Secondary applicants with gazetted passports or equivalent English education background are deemed to have Competent English, similar to their primary applicant spouses. This is per Schedule 1 criteria. They do not need to sit for IELTS or pay the 2nd VAC.