English Language Requirement for Australian Visas
English is one of the key requirements for applicants to demonstrate for all Skilled Migration Visas to Australia.
You can prove that your English language ability is at the appropriate level by either of the three below:
- Providing evidence that you have studied in English for at least five years in one or more of the following countries: Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, South Africa, or the Republic of Ireland
- Being enrolled in an English course by your education provider
- Passing an approved test of your English language ability and achieving the required score
The required level of English depends on the visa subclass you are applying for in Skilled Migration. There are four (4) different levels of English Language Score which may be relevant:
- Superior English: 20 points
- Proficient English: 10 points
- Competent English: 0 points – Minimum threshold requirement for GSM
- Functional English: Minimum threshold requirement for GSM secondary
applicants GSM seeking to avoid paying the English Language
When do you need the English Score by: At Time of Invitation or Time of Application?
The timing of the English language requirement depends on the type of visa being applied for:
- General Skilled Migration (GSM): Time of Invitation via SkillSelect
- RSMS and ENS visas: Time of Visa Application
As it can take some time to obtain a booking for a test and to receive the results, we strongly recommend that you plan to practice and take the English test well ahead of time.
How long are English Language Score Valid for?
English Tests scores dated up to 3 years prior to visa application lodgment will be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
The only exception to this is for Functional English which is generally required for Partner or Spouse of the main GSM applicant. Functional English score must have been taken within 12 months of the visa application lodgment date.
Acceptable English Tests
The IELTS test is the most common way of evidencing English language ability. Either the Academic or General Training versions of the test are acceptable to the Department of Immigration, but some skills assessing authorities require applicants to sit the Academic version. You will need to obtain a minimum score in each band of the IELTS (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking) in a single sitting.
The Occupational English Test (OET) is also accepted as evidence of proficient and superior levels of English. The OET is only appropriate for medical and allied health professionals.
The Pearson Academic Test of English (Pearson PTE) and TOEFL Internet Based Test (TOEFL IBT) are now accepted for all skilled subclasses. Most state and territory governments also recognise these tests, as do some skills assessment authorities.
The Cambridge Test of English is also accepted from January 2015.
You can read more about the pros and cons of each English test in our article here.
|English Language proficiency level||IELTS
|TOEFL (Marks)||PTE Academic
|Cambridge (Points score)|
|Vocational||5.0||Listening – 4
Reading – 4
|Competent||6.0||Listening – 12
Reading – 13
Speaking – 18
|Proficient (for points tested
|7.0||Listening – 24
Reading – 24
Speaking – 23
|Superior (for points tested
|8.0||Listening – 28
Reading – 29
Speaking – 26
|Result Time – Period
|After 15 days||After
Migration points awarded on English skills factor for General Skilled Migration
|Points||Level of English|
|No points award||Competent|
Migration points awarded on English skills factor for Trade Sponsorship visas
If your spouse or partner has less than functional English, then you would need to pay the “English Education Charge” to cover English language tuition in applying for skilled migration.
You can show you have functional English ability by providing evidence of one of the following:
- Completion of a degree, higher degree, diploma or trade certificate that required at least 2 years of study in English medium
- Completion of all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education in English medium; or
- Completion of at least 5 years of secondary education in English medium; or
- Scoring at least 4.5 averaged over the four components of the IELTS test within the 12 months before application, or during processing; or
- Completion in Australia of at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma in English medium.
- In some circumstances, functional English can be established via interview
You can also demonstrate functional English by completing an English test and scoring as follows:
|Test component||Avg. Score|
Preparing for your English test to obtain your Australian Visa
Please find bellow a list of websites where you can find all you need to study by yourself.
To conclude, there are plenty of options to select from when it comes to English test, but to fulfil the Australian visa requirement against your visa category, one should consider the factors that we discussed about before taking the exams. However, From Australian Student perspective and from the perspective of many skilled migrations, PTE Academic test format has become the most popular in the previous 2 years.