Li's story

Li contacted our office because she was unhappy with Ahpra's decision to decline her application for registration as a Chinese medicine practitioner on the basis that she did not meet the requirements of the English Language Skills Registration Standard

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Li contacted our office because she was unhappy with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency's (Ahpra) decision to decline her application for registration as a Chinese medicine practitioner on the basis that she did not meet the requirements of the English Language Skills Registration Standard (ELSR Standard).

Li explained she had grown up in another country where English was the predominant language spoken and had completed 11 years of study in Australia, including a master’s degree. Li believed it was unfair that Ahpra had told her she needed to pass the English language test to become registered. Li shared that she had previously sat and passed the English language test, but Ahpra would not recognise the results because they had been obtained too long ago. She also said the Department of Immigration had accepted her English proficiency based on her extensive Australian tertiary education and did not require her to sit the English language test for visa purposes. Li said the current ELSR Standard was unfair to those who did not complete their schooling in Australia and was unnecessarily prescriptive.

We advised Li that it appeared as though Ahpra had appropriately applied the requirements set by the Chinese Medicine Board (and approved by health ministers) to meet the ELSR Standard. Based on this, Li would likely be required to take the English language test. We explained that the registration standards are agreed by the Boards and approved by health ministers, and that we cannot change the requirements. However, we also let Li know we would ensure her complaint would be used as part of our work to improve the ELSR Standard at the system level, particularly because we have heard similar concerns from other complainants. We assured Li we would continue to engage with Ahpra and the Boards on any future revisions of the ELSR Standard.

Find out how to make a complaint to the Ombudsman or Commissioner.

Find out more about how to apply for review of Ahpra's FOI decision.

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