Irish vet's English fails Australian computer visa test — BBCI

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Irish vet's English fails Australian computer visa test — BBCI

Louise Kennedy from Roundwood in County Wicklow has been working as an equine vet on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Louise Kennedy has been working in Australia for the last two years as a skilled worker, but recently she chose to seek full time residency in the country on the grounds that there's a shortage of vets in Australia.

She made a decision to seek permanent residency because her vocation has been listed as a "shortage profession".

Despite this, Dr Kennedy says she did not gain enough points in the English oral test to obtain her visa.

"There's obviously a flaw in their computer software, when a person with ideal oral fluency can not get enough points", she told AAP.

Ms Kennedy went to Pearson, one of five test providers the immigration department licenses to carry out English assessments for visa applicants.

While she passed all the other parts of the test, she failed the oral part of the exam where voice recognition software is used to test speaking ability.

Ms Kennedy thought the low score was a "mistake" when the results came back.

She'll get the opportunity to retake the $300 (€200) test free of charge.

"It's taken about two-and-a-half years to get to this point because as a vet you've also got to prove your skills as a vet, so I've done all of that that takes about two years and then to not get it from English is just so frustrating".

The company that runs the test, Pearson, told the Australian Associated Press there was no problems with its system.

The head of Pearson in the Asia Pacific, Sasha Hampson, said the company will not comment on individual cases, but insists the technology they use is of a high quality.

Ms Kennedy's experience thousands of miles away is, however, a familiar one for Irish nurses hoping to work in the North.

In Australia, skilled migrants need to complete an English proficiency test in order to apply for permanent residency.

This article first appeared in today's Irish Examiner.

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