In a long-overdue change, foreign drivers from China, India and other select countries will be required to take proper driver’s tests from July 1 before driving in New South Wales on a foreign license for more than six months.
So far, a loophole has allowed foreign drivers on temporary or student visas to use their foreign driving license to drive on Australian roads, even after earning 13 demerit points over a three-year period.
Drivers from these countries are now required to complete the same knowledge and practical tests as New South Wales natives. In addition, if the driver exceeds his 13 demerit points, his driving license in Australia will be revoked – if he hits that limit there is currently nothing preventing him from continuing to drive after his disqualification period has expired.
Speaking anonymously to CarExpert, a highway patrol officer said: “Sometimes we get a piece of paper that a driver passes off as his driver’s license. We have no idea if this is real… it’s sometimes even impossible to tell who the person on the document is. The system is absolutely flawed when it comes to foreign drivers from these countries,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
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Around 2,000 foreign drivers have had their driving licenses revoked since 2020, according to The Daily Telegraph. There are also potentially 120,000 of New South Wales’ 220,000 eligible visa holders who would need to take a driving test.
Drivers from recognized countries such as Germany, Singapore and Japan can convert their driving license without having to take a driving test.