English language requirements for skilled visas

English language requirements for skilled visas

If you are applying for a skilled migration visa, you need to meet the required English language criteria. Depending on the visa subclass you are applying for, you can demonstrate this in several ways:

  • If you are a passport holder of United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, United States or the Republic of Ireland.
  • If you have sat an approved English Language test and got the required scores

Certain visa subclasses may also have English Language exemptions.

Which tests are accepted by Department of Home Affairs?

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Testing of English as a Foreign Language Internet based Test (TOEFL iBT)
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced test

For immigration purposes, typically English Language tests are valid for three years from the date the test was undertaken.

What are the English language requirements and when do you need to provide evidence?

The table sets out the English language requirements for the main visa applicant:

Subclass English language requirement
When to provide
 Skilled Independent(subclass 189)
 Competent  By time of invitation
 Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)  Competent  By time of invitation
 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) Competent  By time of invitation
 Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) Competent  At time of application
 Regional Sponsor Migration Scheme (subclass 187) - Direct Entry Competent  At time of application
 Skilled Employer Sponsored (subclass 494) Competent  At time of application

Competent English

   Reading Writing
Speaking
Listening
IELTS
 6.0 6.0
 6.0 6.0
TOEFL iBT
 13 21
18 12
PTE Academic
 50 50 50
50
OET  B B
B
B
Cambridge C1 Advanced Test
 169 169
169 169

Proficient English

If you demonstrate proficient English, you can claim 10 points for English Language ability. For the purposes of an EOI, all applicants are required to undertake English language test to obtain points.

 
Reading
Writing
Speaking
 Listening
IELTS
 7.0 7.0
 7.0  7.0
TOEFL iBT
 24  27  23  24
PTE Academic
 65  65  65 65
OET  B  B  B  B
Cambridge C1 Advanced Test
 185  185  185  185

Superior English

If you demonstrate superior English, you can claim 20 points for English Language Ability. For the purposes of an EOI, all applicants are required to undertake English language test to obtain points.

   Reading Writing  Speaking   Listening
IELTS  8.0  8.0  8.0  8.0
TOEFL iBT  29  30  26  28
PTE Academic  79  79  79  79
OET  A  A  A  A
Cambridge C1 Advanced Test  200  200  200  200

 

Functional English

  • Functional English can be evidenced in several ways:
  • Completing a degree, higher degree, a diploma, or a trade qualification that required at least 2 years full-time study or training and all instruction was in English; or \
  • Completing all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education at educational institutions in which all instructions was conducted in English; or
  • Completing five years secondary education at institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or
  • Completing at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma or associate diploma at an Australian institution/s where all instruction was conducted in English; or
  • Holder of a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland, to a citizen of that country; or
  • The department of home affairs may establish functional English by carrying out an interview in certain cases; or
  • Completion of an accepted test not more than 12 months before lodging the visa application:
 Test Average test score
 IELTS  4.5
 TOEFT iBT
 32
 PTE Academic
 30
 Cambridge English Advanced(CAE)
 147