Stronger English language requirements for foreign students

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The Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the more stringent testing is important for the integrity and and quality of the Australian education system, and to its continuing appeal to global students.

The Turnbull government will begin testing global university students on the strength of their English skills from next year, in hopes of setting a very high "benchmark of assessment".

Worldwide students helped generate more than AU$20 billion (US$15.6 billion) in export income for Australia in 2015-2016, eight per cent more than the previous 12 months, with universities and other tertiary institutions making up more than half of that, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed.

Prospective overseas students have been able to take an intensive English course to prepare for further studies if they do not already have other qualifications showing their ability to study in the language.

Senator Birmingham said enforcement of the new policy would be undertaken through national regulator, the TEQSA - Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency - and TEQSA would be able to "better ensure those English language providers are meeting the requisite benchmarks".

Global education also supports more than 130,000 Australian jobs, according to the Universities Australia industry group.