In a long overdue change, foreign drivers from China, India and other selected countries will now be required to sit proper driving tests before driving in New South Wales for longer than six months on a foreign licence from July 1.
To date, a loophole has allowed foreign drivers on temporary or student visas to use their foreign driver’s licence to drive on Australian roads even after accruing 13 demerit points over a three year period.
Drivers from these countries will now need to take the same knowledge and practical test as New South Wales locals. In addition to that, if the driver exceeds their 13 demerit point allocation, their ability to drive in Australia will be removed – currently if they hit that limit, there’s nothing stopping them from continuing to drive after sitting their disqualification period.
Speaking to CarExpert anonymously, one highway patrol officer said “We will sometimes be given a piece of paper that a driver claims to be their licence. We have no idea if this is real … it’s even impossible to tell who the person is on the document at times. The system is absolutely flawed when it comes to foreign drivers from these countries,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.
According to The Daily Telegraph around 2000 foreign drivers have had their ability to drive removed since 2020.
There are also potentially 120,000 of the 220,000 eligible visa holders in New South Wales that would need to undergo driving tests.
Drivers from recognised countries such as Germany, Singapore and Japan can convert their licences without needing to undertake a driving test.