ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT FOR SKILLED & EMPLOYER NOMINATED VISAS - Australian Migration agents | Immigration Lawyers in Melbourne & Canberra | Global Vision Migration


If you are seeking for Skilled Migration, you must demonstrate your ability to communicate in English. The needed level of English varies depending on the visa subclass you are seeking for, and there are four possible levels:

  • GSM points test: 20 points for superior English
  • English proficiency: 10 points on the GSM points test
  • Competent English is a prerequisite for 186 ENS/187 RSMS Direct Entry and General Skilled Migration.
  • Vocational English: 5.5 overall in IELTS is the minimum qualification for the ENS/RSMS Temporary Residence Transition Stream.
  • Secondary applicants who want to avoid paying the English Language Charge should use functional English.

English timetable

The English language requirement is timed differently depending on the type of visa being requested for:

  • General Skilled Migration: Invitation Period
  • RSMS 187 and ENS 186 visas: application deadlines

Because obtaining a test booking and receiving the results can take some time, you should plan to take the English exam well ahead of time.

Tests of English Validity

The Department of Immigration will accept tests performed up to three years prior to filing an application.

Functional English examination must be completed no more than 12 months prior to filing.

Acceptable English Examinations

The IELTS test (IELTS Australia) is a computer-delivered version of the IELTS test. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the most widely used method of demonstrating English language proficiency. The Department of Immigration accepts either the Academic or General Training versions of the test, while some skill assessment bodies require applicants to take the Academic version. In a single sitting, you must achieve a minimum score in each band of the IELTS (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking).

The Occupational English Test (OET) is also regarded as proof of English proficiency and superiority. Only medical and allied health professionals should take the OET.

For all skilled subclasses, the Pearson Academic Test of English (Pearson PTE) and TOEFL Internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT) are now accepted. Most state and territorial governments, as well as some skills assessment authorities, accept these examinations.

Since January 2015, the Cambridge Test of English has also been approved.

In our essay, we go over the advantages and disadvantages of each English test.

Vocational English

For those who have had a TSS visa for three years with the employer, vocational English is required to get an ENS 186 visa or an RSMS 187 visa through the Temporary Residence Transitional stream.

The following are the minimum requirements for establishing Vocational English:

Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 5 5 5 5
TOEFL iBT 4 4 14 14
PTE Academic 36 36 36 36
Cambridge (CAE) 154 154 154 154

Excellent command of the English language

To meet the threshold criteria for most skilled visas, you must demonstrate that you have at least Competent English. You can prove competent English without taking an English test if you have a passport from one of the following five countries:

  • Canada
  • New Zealand 
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain
  • United States of America
  • Ireland

Otherwise, you’ll need to take a recognized English language test and get a score of at least:

Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 6 6 6 6
TOEFL iBT 12 13 21 18
PTE Academic 50 50 50 50
Cambridge (CAE) 169 169 169 169

Competent English earns you 0 points on the Skilled Migration Points Test, but it is a necessity for submitting a skilled visa application.

Excellent command of the English language

You will receive 10 points for English language ability if you display proficient English.

Even natural English speakers are required to take English language tests in order to receive points for competent or higher English.

The following are the minimum requirements for Proficient English:

Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 7 7 7 7
TOEFL iBT 24 24 27 23
PTE Academic 65 65 65 65
Cambridge (CAE) 185 185 185 185

 Excellent English/ superior English

You will receive a maximum of 20 points for English language ability if you display outstanding English. The following are the minimum requirements for Superior English:

Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 8 8 8 8
TOEFL iBT 28 29 30 26
PTE Academic 79 79 79 79
Cambridge (CAE) 200 200 200 200

Functional English

If your spouse or partner does not speak English well, you will be required to pay the “English Education Charge” in order to finance English language instruction while applying for skilled migration.

You can demonstrate your functional English proficiency by demonstrating one of the following:

  1. Completion of an English-medium degree, higher degree, diploma, or trade certificate that required at least two years of study
  2. Completion of all elementary school years and at least three years of high school in English; or
  3. completion of at least 5 years of English-medium secondary education; or
  4. Obtaining a score of at least 4.5 on the IELTS test in each of the four components during the previous 12 months, or while the application is being processed; or
  5. Completion of at least one year of full-time or comparable part-time study in Australia towards an English-medium degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma.
  6. In some cases, functional English can be determined through an interview.

You can also show that you can communicate well in English by taking an English test and scoring as follows:

Test component Average across test components only
PTE Academic 30
OET n/a
Cambridge (CAE) 147

Because applying for migration to Australia can be complicated, we recommend that you schedule a consultation to determine your eligibility for immigration to Australia.

Popular Australian visas that require fluency in English include:

The English tests will be required for the following visa types:

  • Skilled Independent Subclass 189, Skilled Nominated Subclass 190, Skilled Regional Sponsored Provisional Subclass 489, and Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas are all part of the general skilled migration program.
  • Subclass 186 of the ENS
  • Subclass 187 of the RSMS
  • Migration of a Business
  • Subclass 124 of Distinguished Talent
  • Former Resident Subclass 151

TzOEFL iBT is a computerized version of the TOEFL exam.

The TOEFL iBT is taken via the internet. There are more than 50 test dates each year, and there is a wide range of test locations throughout the world.

The test takes approximately 4.5 hours to complete has the following structure:

  1. Reading: 60-80 Minutes
  2. Listening: 120-180 Minutes
  3. Speaking: 20 Minutes
  4. Writing: 50 Minutes

TOEFL scores are available approximately 10 days after the test date. They can be viewed online, and a hard copy is sent approximately 13 days after the test date. You can specify recipients for your scores to be sent to via an online facility, but this cannot be changed after you have taken the test.

The current cost to undertake the TOEFL iBT in Australia is $240, well under the current cost of IELTS ($330).

Academic PTE

The Pearson Academic Test of English is organized as follows:

  1. 77–93 minutes for speaking and writing
  2. 32–41 minutes of reading
  3. 45–57 minutes of listening

The test takes 3 hours in total. The results are available within 5 working days after logging into an online account. The online account can also be used to send findings to institutions. This contrasts well with IELTS, which currently takes two weeks to receive results and does not allow test takers to create an online account.

The PTE Academic test costs $330 in Australia, which is the same as IELTS. The number of locations and test dates are limited compared to the TOEFL.

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