I was so in disbelief at this new policy that I wrote to the policy department and here is their reply:
As background information, applicants who hold a passport from the
United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States of America and
the Republic of Ireland are exempt from sitting an International English
Language Testing System (IELTS) test to demonstrate that they meet the
English language threshold (competent English). However, all applicants
seeking to demonstrate that they have the higher level of proficient
English must provide an IELTS result demonstrating their level of
This rationale behind this requirement is the fact that not all citizens
of the above mentioned countries applying for skilled migration have
proficient English. Therefore proficient English is rewarded with extra
As a former EFL teacher, I am totally bemused by this policy. The IELTS exams were never designed to test native speakers – they are designed to demonstrate how closely an applicant’s English is to that of a native speaker. So it’s a bit like comparing a fish with a fish…
The policy is also flawed. It is not a requirement of holding a British passport to have “competent” English. I know of people that can barely string a sentence together in English but they qualify for a UK passport. Doesn’t seem fair that they would get points automatically for their English “ability”.
Additionally, some native speakers may not do well in the exam and may not qualify for the full 25 points even though their communication skills are at least “proficient”. Possible reasons for this are any kind of literacy problem, or more likely “exam fright”. The latter is more common that you might think and can be a real problem for some people.
Saying all that, the exams should not present a problem for the majority of native speakers – they should be a breeze in fact. You can learn more about them here
. I would just be pissed off at the additional costs and stress involved in having to prove
that I was a native speaker.