189190Australian visasEnglishGuidelines

What are the English Language requirements for an Australian visa (in plain English)?

By January 13, 2020August 14th, 2020No Comments

Depending on the visa you apply for in Australia, a visa applicant may need to provide the Department with evidence of your English language ability.

The below table sets out the general English requirements for common visa applications (noting that certain applicants may be exempt from English language in lieu of other factors):

Visa (common categories)
Required level of English

407 primary applicants

408 visa primary applicants

124 (unless a second instalment is paid)

186 over 18 applicants (unless a second instalment is paid)

Functional English

482 primary applicants (medium term stream)

188A or B primary applicant claiming 5 points

Vocational English

186 primary applicant

187 primary applicant

188 primary applicant

189 primary applicant

190 primary applicant

489 primary applicant

Competent English

189 / 190 / 489 primary applicants claiming 10 points for English

188A or B primary applicant claiming 10 points for English

Proficient English

189 / 190 / 489 primary applicant claiming 20 points for English

Superior English

482 primary applicants (short term stream)

IELTS: Overall score of 5.0 (and 4.5 in each component)

TEOEFL iBT: Total score of 35 (and 3 for listening and reading / 12 for speaking and writing)

PTE Academic: Overall score of 36 (and 30 in each component)

OET: ‘B’ in each component

Cambridge C1: At least 154 (and 147 in each component)

485 visa

IELTS:  Overall score of 6.0 (and 5 in each band)

TOEFL iBT: Total score of 64 (and 4 in Listening and Reading / 14 in Writing and Speaking)

PTE Academic: Overall score of 50 (and 36 in each component)

OET: ‘B’ in each component

Cambridge C1: 169 overall average (and 154 in each band)

500 visa

IELTS: Overall score of 5.5

TETOEFL iBT: Total score of 46

PTE: Overall score of 42

OET: ‘B’ in each component

Cambridge C1: 162 overall average

What is “Functional English”?

To prove functional English, an applicant must provide evidence of one of the following scores (usually) in the last 12 months prior to the application being made:

 Test
Required score
IELTSAn average band score of at least 4.5 for each of the 4 test components
TOEFL iBTA total band score of at least 32 based on the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening
PTE AcademicAn overall band score of at least 30 for each of the 4 test components
Cambridge C1An overall band score of at least 147 for each of the four test components

Alternatively, you can provide evidence that:

  1. you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland
  2. your English has been assessed as functional by an Australian Adult Migrant English Program service provider
  3. you completed a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate in an institution in or outside Australia that require at least two years of full-time study and all instructions were in English
  4. you undertook your education at:
    1. a primary school and secondary school where all instruction was in English in or outside Australia AND have evidence covering all years of primary and at least 3 years of secondary study
    2. a secondary school in or outside Australia where all instruction was in English which was at least 5 years of study
    3. an institution in Australia where all instruction was in English where at least 1 year of full-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma
    4. an institution in Australia where all instruction was in English where the part-time equivalent of 1 year of full-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma

Certain visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages on our website to view the appropriate requirements and / or contact your Hannan Tew representative.

What is “Vocational English”?

To prove you have vocational English, you must provide evidence of one of the following scores in (usually) the last 3 years prior to the application being made:

Test
Required score

IELTS

At least 5 for each of the 4 test components

TOEFL iBT

At least 4 for listening, 4 for reading, 14 for writing and 14 for speaking

PTE Academic

At least 36 for each of the 4 test components

OET

At least B for each of the 4 test components

Cambridge C1

​At least 154 in each of the 4 test components

Alternatively, you can provide evidence that:

  1. you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland

Certain visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages on our website to view the appropriate requirements and / or contact your Hannan Tew representative.

What is “Competent English”?

To prove you have competent English, you must provide evidence of one of the following scores (usually) in the last 3 years prior to the application / invitation for application being made:

Test
Required score

IELTS

At least 6 for each of the 4 components

TOEFL iBT

At least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking

PTE Academic

At least 50 for each of the 4 components

OET

At least B for each of the 4 test components

Cambridge C1

At least 169 in each of the 4 components

Certain visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages on our website to view the appropriate requirements and / or contact your Hannan Tew representative.

What is “Proficient English”?

To prove you have competent English, you must provide evidence of one of the following scores (usually) in the last 3 years prior to the invitation being made:

Test
Required score

IELTS

At least 7 for each of the 4 test components​

TOEFL iBT

At least 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing and 23 for speaking

PTE Academic

At least 65 for each of the 4 test components​

OET

At least A for each of the 4 test components

Cambridge C1

At least 185 in each of the 4 test components​

Certain visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages to find out.

What is “Superior English”?

To prove you have superior English, you must provide evidence of one of the following scores in (usually) the last 3 years prior to the application being made:

Test
Required score

IELTS

At least 8 for each of the 4 test components

TOEFL iBT

At least 28 for listening, 29 for reading, 30 for writing and 26 for speaking

PTE Academic

At least 79 for each of the 4 test components

OET

At least B for each of the 4 test components​

Cambridge C1

​At least 200 in each of the 4 test components

Any questions?

Certain visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages on our website to view the appropriate requirements and / or contact your Hannan Tew representative.

If you seek further information about the specific English requirements for your visa, please email our general query inbox at [email protected] or call us on +61 3 9016 0484.

THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. PLEASE CONSULT AN IMMIGRATION PROFESSIONAL FOR UP TO DATE INFORMATION
Mihan Hannan

Author Mihan Hannan

Formerly a Senior Associate in one of Australia’s most reputable immigration litigation and review practices, Mihan is solutions focused and well versed in all aspects of Australian immigration law. Mihan also has a subscription addiction, being obsessed with tools to improve the immigration work flow.

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