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New English Language Scores

If you are applying for Skilled Migration, you will need to prove your English language ability. The required level of English depends on the visa subclass you are applying for and there are 4 different levels of English which may be relevant:

  • Superior English
  • Proficient English
  • Competent English
  • Vocational English
  • Functional English

Validity of English Tests

Tests conducted up to 3 years prior to lodgement of an application will be accepted by Department of Immigration.

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, apart from 457 visas. 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.

 

Vocational English

Vocational English is the required level to obtain a 457 visa, and also ENS and RSMS visa through the Temporary Residence Transitional stream for people who have held a 457 visa for 2 years with the employer.

Required scores to establish Vocational English are as follows:

 

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

IELTS

5

5

5

5

TOEFL iBT

4

4

14

14

PTE Academic

36

36

36

36

OET

B

B

B

B

Cambridge (CAE)

154

154

154

154

 

Competent English

Competent English gives you 0 points in the Skilled Migration Points Test, but is an essential requirement to be able to lodge a skilled visa.

For most skilled visas, you will need to show at least Competent English to meet the threshold criteria. If you hold a passport from one of the following 5 countries, you can establish competent English without completing an English test:

  1. Canada
  2. New Zealand
  3. United Kingdom
  4. United States
  5. Ireland

Otherwise, you would need to complete a recognised English language test and obtain the following score:

 

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

IELTS

6

6

6

6

TOEFL iBT

12

13

21

18

PTE Academic

50

50

50

50

OET

B

B

B

B

Cambridge (CAE)

169

169

169

169

 

Proficient English

If you demonstrate proficient English, this will give you 10 points Skilled Migration Points Test.

Even native English speakers must undertake English language testing to obtain points for proficient English or higher.

Scores required for Proficient English are:

 

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

IELTS

7

7

7

7

TOEFL iBT

24

24

27

23

PTE Academic

65

65

65

65

OET

B

B

B

B

Cambridge (CAE)

185

185

185

185

 

Superior English

If you demonstrate proficient English, this will give the maximum of 20 points in the Skilled Migration Points Test. Minimum scores for Superior English are:

 

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

IELTS

8

8

8

8

TOEFL iBT

28

29

30

26

PTE Academic

79

79

79

79

OET

A

A

A

A

Cambridge (CAE)

200

200

200

200

 

Functional English

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:

  1. Completion of a degree, higher degree, diploma or trade certificate that required at least 2 years of study in English medium
  2. Completion of all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education in English medium; or
  3. Completion of at least 5 years of secondary education in English medium; or
  4. Scoring at least 4.5 averaged over the four components of the IELTS test within the 12 months before application, or during processing; or
  5. 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.
  6. 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 and it requires testing to have been done at most 12 months before lodgement.

Test component

Average across test components only

IELTS

4.5

TOEFL iBT

32

PTE Academic

30

OET

n/a

Cambridge (CAE)

147

Applying for migration to Australia can be complex, so we recommend that you book a consultation to check your likely eligibility for immigration to Australia before you proceed with an application.

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