186EnglishENS Visas

What are the English requirements for an ENS (Subclass 186) visa?

By December 15, 2020No Comments

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) program consists of employer sponsored visas for skilled foreign workers in high demand occupations. The Subclass 186 visa is a permanent resident visa and eligibility depends on a number of factors including the occupation, age, or salary of the candidate. For further information about the ENS program generally, you can refer to our dedicated page here.

This post sets out the English requirements for this visa.

What are the English requirements?

Primary applicants

Firstly, English requirements for the primary applicants (the employee) are set out in Schedule 2 as “time of application” criteria. This means that evidence of English must be provided prior to lodging the application or be refused.

These primary applicants must demonstrate “competent English”.

All applicants (including secondary applicants) who are 18 or over

All applicants who are over the age of 18 are assessed by Schedule 1 and this means that they do not need to demonstrate functional English at application but need to demonstrate “functional English” before a decision is made or pay the second instalment of the visa application charge.

Given that primary applicants usually satisfy “competent English” they also satisfy “functional English”.

For secondary applicants how are unable to demonstrate functional English, the current second instalment of the visa application charge is a significant $4,890.

What is competent English?

A person has competent English if:

  1. they have undertaken a language test specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument within the three years immediately before the ENS application was lodged, and achieved the score specified in the legislative instrument; or
  2. they hold a passport of a type specified by the Minister in the legislative instrument.

As such, a person can demonstrate competent English with one of the following:

Method
Evidence / Score

Passport and citizenship

A copy of the passport biodata page from the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland, to a citizen of that country

International English Language Test System (IELTS) test

An IELTS test score of at least 6 in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening

Occupational English Test (OET)

An OET test score of at least B in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening

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

A TOEFL iBT test score with at least the following scores in the four test components: 18 for speaking, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 12 for listening

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

A PTE Academic test score of at least 50 in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening

What is functional English?

A person can demonstrate functional English with any of the following:

Method
Evidence / Score

Passport and citizenship

The applicant must provide evidence that they are the holder of a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, or the Republic of Ireland, and are a citizen of that country

Primary and Secondary Education

The applicant must provide evidence of having completed all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education at educational institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English

Secondary Education

The applicant must provide evidence of having completed at least 5 years of secondary education at institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English

Post-Secondary Education

The person holds an award (being a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade qualification) that required at least 2 years of full-time study or training and all instruction (including instruction received in other courses for which the person was allowed credit) for that award was conducted in English

Australian study

The applicant must provide evidence that they have successfully completed, in Australia, at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma, at an institution or institutions where all the instruction was conducted in English

IELTS

The applicant must provide evidence of having achieved IELTS average band score of at least 4.5, based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing, and listening in a test conducted:

  1. not more than 12 months before lodging the relevant application to migrate; or
  2. at the time of the processing of the relevant application to migrate

TOEFL iBT

The applicant must provide evidence of having achieved a TOEFL iBT total band score of at least 32, based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing, and listening in a test conducted:

  1. not more than 12 months before lodging the relevant application to migrate; or
  2. at the time of the processing of the relevant application to migrate

PTE Academic

The applicant must provide evidence of having achieved a PTE Academic overall band score of at least 30, based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing, and listening in a test conducted:

  1. not more than 12 months before lodging the relevant application to migrate; or
  2. at the time of the processing of the relevant application to migrate

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)

The applicant provides evidence of having achieved a CAE overall score of at least 147 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing, and listening in a test conducted:

  1. not more than 12 months before lodging the relevant application to migrate; or
  2. at the time of the processing of the relevant application to migrate

Approved English Courses

Evidence that the person has been assessed as having functional English by the provider of a course that is an approved English course for the purposes of section 4 of the Immigration (Education) Act 1971

Need further information?

With extensive experience representing the world’s largest corporations, SMEs, and start-ups, our staff are well placed to assist with all issues in relation to the employer sponsored visa process, including business sponsorship applications, nomination applications, compliance and sponsorship bars.

If you are an employer seeking more clarification about the English requirements for the ENS visa, we would love to put your mind at ease. Contact us by email at [email protected] or phone +61 3 9016 0484 to obtain further guidance.

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 firms immigration work flow.

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