You may be required to submit proof that you have a certain level of the English language when you apply for an Australia visa. This requirement will depend on what type of visa you are applying for, whether you will be working, studying, or just visiting, and how long you will be staying in Australia.

What Is the Language Requirement for Australia Visa?

This is a requirement you need to meet if you are applying for an Australia student visa, permanent visa or a skilled work visa. You must provide evidence that you have a satisfactory level of the English language as specified by the Department of Home Affairs.

You will be required to provide proof of a different level according to the type of visa you are applying for. For most work and permanent visas, you must have at least a functional level or a competent level of the English language.

What Are the Levels of English Language for Australia Visa?

There are five main levels of the English language requirement for an Australia visa:

  1. Functional Level
  2. Vocational Level
  3. Competent Level
  4. Proficient Level
  5. Superior Level

Functional Level of the English Language

In order to prove that you have a functional level of the English language, you must provide evidence that:

  • You are a national or hold a valid passport issued by:
    • The United Kingdom
    • The United States of America
    • Canada
    • New Zealand
    • The Republic of Ireland
  • You have finished a degree program, higher education, a diploma or a trade certificate in an educational institution in or out of Australia provided that you did at least two years of full-time study and all instructions were in English.
  • You finished primary school and at least three years of secondary education in an institution with English as the main language of instruction.
  • You completed at least five years of secondary education in or out of Australia in an institution with English as the primary language of instruction.
  • You finished at least one year of full-time study toward an award in an institution in Australia with English instructions.
  • You completed part-time equivalent to one year of full-time study toward an award at an institution in Australia with English instructions.

Alternatively, you can provide evidence of having completed an internationally recognized test of the English language according to the score requirement by the Department of Home Affairs:

Test Acceptable scores
IELTS (International English Language Testing System). IELTS Academic or General Training At least 4.5 on each four of the test parts
TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test) A total score of 32 based on every part test; writing, reading, speaking, and listening.
PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English) A total score of 30 based on the four parts of the test.
CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced) A total score of at least 147 based on four test parts.

Vocational Level of the English Language

For a vocational level of the English language, you must submit proof that you completed one of the international language tests at least three years before you applied for the visa with acceptable scores by the Immigration Office:

Test Acceptable score
IELTS (International English Language Testing System). IELTS Academic or General Training 5 points at least for the four test parts.
 

 

TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test)

Listening: 4 points

Reading: 4 points

Writing: 14 points

Speaking: 14 points

PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English) 36 points at least for each test part
CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced) 154 points for each test part

You don’t have to submit proof of an exam if you hold a passport and are a citizen of one of these countries:

  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States of America
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • The Republic of Ireland

Competent Level of the English Language

To show that you have a competent level of the English language please provide evidence of a completed international test with the required scores by the DHA:

Test Acceptable Score
IELTS (International English Language Testing System). IELTS Academic or General Training 6 points at least for each test part
TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test) Listening: 12 points

Reading: 13 points

Writing: 21 points

Speaking: 18 points

PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English) 50 points at least for each test part
CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced) B at least for each test part
OET (Occupational English Test) 169 points at least for each test part

 

Alternatively, you meet the language requirements if you have a valid passport or are a citizen of:

  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States of America
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • The Republic of Ireland

Please note that if you are required to provide evidence of a competent level of the English language for your visa, it’s important that you know whether you can claim partner points, and when the test scores become invalid. See this table as shown by the Immigration Office:

Visa type Visa applicant Time of submission Validity
Employer Nomination Scheme- subclass 186 Main By the time of the application The test must have been taken three years before the application date
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme- subclass 187 Main By the time of the application The test must have been taken three years before the application date
Business Innovation and Investment- subclass 188 Main

 

By the time of invitation The test must have been taken three years before the invitation date
Skilled Independent- subclass 189 Main By the time of invitation The test must have been taken three years before the invitation date
Skilled Nominated Visa- subclass 190 Main By the time of invitation The test must have been taken three years before the invitation date
Skilled Regional Visa- subclass 489 Main By the time of invitation The test must have been taken three years before the invitation date
Skilled Work Regional- subclass 491 Main By the time of invitation The test must have been taken three years before the invitation date
Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa- subclass 495 Main By the time of application The test must have been taken three years before the application date

Proficient Level of the English Language

To prove you have a proficient level of the English language you must provide evidence that three years before you are invited to apply for your visa you have completed one of the internationally recognised English language tests:

 

Test Acceptable score
IELTS (International English Language Testing System). IELTS Academic or General Training 7 points at least for each test part
TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test) Listening: 24 points

Reading: 24 points

Writing: 27 points

Speaking: 23 points

PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English) 65 points at least for each test part
CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced) B for each test part
OET (Occupational English Test) 185 points for at least each test part

 

Superior Level of the English Language

For a superior level of the English Language you must submit evidence that three years before you are invited to apply for your visa you finished one of the following English language tests:

 

Test Acceptable score
IELTS (International English Language Testing System). IELTS Academic or General Training 8 points for at least each part of the test
TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test) Listening: 28 points

Reading: 29 points

Writing: 30 points

Speaking: 26 points

PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English) 79 points at least for each part of the test
CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced) A for each test part
OET (Occupational English Test) 200 points for at least each test part

Which Level of English Do I Need for My Australia Visa?

It depends on the type of visa you are applying for. For the majority of work visas, you will need a functional level, but for some work visas, you may be required to have a competent level- unless exemptions apply. For other permanent visas, you may be required to submit at least a functional level of the English language.

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Can I Enter Australia With a Score of 4.5 Bands?

You can enter Australia with a 4.5 band score if your visa type allows that kind of score. If your visa requires a higher score for a different level of English, then you will most likely not be granted the visa.

Partner English Language Exam for Australia Visa

If you are bringing your partner on a permanent visa or a work visa, they need to show proof that they have at least a functional level of the English language. Other family members you bring with you to Australia might need to meet the language requirements as well.

In some cases where your partner or family member cannot prove they have a functional level of the language, you may be required to pay a second instalment fee. The Department of Home Affairs will let you know when to pay the fee.

How Long Is the PTE Valid for Australia Visa?

The PTE test, and any other language tests, cannot be older than three years when you apply for your Australia visa. Make sure you submit a valid test or your visa may be denied.

Do You Have to Speak English to Migrate to Australia?

For temporary migration, you won’t be required to show proof of language proficiency. However, for permanent or long-term migration you have to provide evidence that you meet the language requirements for visa Australia.