In a very brief announcement from the Education Minister, it seems from 2018, international students who enrol in an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) for the purposes of preparing them for further study in Australia will need to meet a minimum English language threshold before they can continue with their main course of study.
This will apparently apply to all vocational and higher education courses. The rationale for this is said to ensure high quality outcomes, and safeguard Australia’s higher education system by requiring international students prove they have essential English language skills. According to the article, around 60,000 international students go on to further study after completing ELICOS courses.
As of yet it is unclear how the mechanics of this will operate within current regulations for student visas, what test or threshold is required, or even if it will apply to current student visa holders.
In many cases, student visas are granted for a duration spanning a number of courses, “rolling up” ELICOS with further studies in the one visa. Whether a student visa is cancelled for failing this benchmark or whether students can defer their main course to pursue further English studies is not known. No official statement has been released on the matter.
What this will bring to light will be the performance of the ELICOS providers. In may be that scrutiny of the provider will occur should they have an excessive number of students who fail the benchmark.