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English Language Requirement for Skilled Migration Visas

A journey towards skilled migration to Australia entails more than just packing bags and securing a visa. It requires mastery of an essential tool: the English language. In the Australian migration process, one non-negotiable step is demonstrating proficiency in English, which spans from functional to proficient and superior levels. The English language requirement for skilled migration varies depending on the subclass, typically falling within the spectrum of Functional and Competent English levels.

Imagine how you will confidently negotiate promotions or salary increases if you cannot clearly advocate for yourself in English.

The English language demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively in everyday work and social settings. However, these requirements can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming. In this blog, we will break down everything you need to know about the English proficiency requirements for Skilled Migration Visas.

Which English language tests are accepted for Australian skilled migration?

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): IELTS is a widely accepted test that assesses all four language skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
  • TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test): While previously accepted, TOEFL iBT results are no longer accepted for migration purposes after July 25, 2023.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English): PTE is another popular option that offers computer-based testing.
  • CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced): CAE is a paper-based test demonstrating a high level of English proficiency. Only results from the paper-based test taken before February 12, 2024, are accepted.
  • OET (Occupational English Test): OET is specifically designed for healthcare professionals to assess their English language skills in a medical context.

What are the English requirements for General Skilled Migration Visas?

When applying for a skilled visa application, meeting English language requirements is a crucial step. These requirements vary based on the visa subclass you are applying for. The Department of Home Affairs sets specific standards for English proficiency, which applicants must meet to qualify. Let’s break down the requirements for each visa subclass:

Visa SubclassesEnglish language Requirement
Skilled Independent (subclass 189)Competent English
Skilled Nominated (subclass 190)Competent English
Skilled Regional Permanent Resident Visa (subclass191) (Hong Kong Stream)Functional English

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491)(Main applicant)

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) (Subsequent entrant)

Competent English

Functional English

Skilled Regional (subclass 887) Functional English

Note: If you are claiming partner points for subclasses 189, 190, and 491, your partner must also possess Competent English proficiency at the time of invitation. You may incur an additional fee for applicants over 18 years old who have less than functional English proficiency for each subclass.

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What is the Minimum English Score for a Skilled Migration Visa?

For Competent English

To demonstrate your Competent English proficiency, you can provide evidence in one of the following ways:

  1. Citizenship and Passport: Present a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, or the Republic of Ireland as part of your application. Please note that British National (Overseas) passports are not accepted as evidence of Competent English.
  2. English Language Test Results: Obtain satisfactory results from one of the following English language tests.
Test Reading Writing Speaking Listening
IELTS 6.06.06.06.0
PTE Academic50505050
TOEFL iBT13211812
OETBBBB
Cambridge C1 Advanced169169169169

For Functional English

To demonstrate your Functional English proficiency, you can provide evidence in one of the following ways:

  1. Passport and Citizenship: Present a valid passport from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, or Ireland, excluding British National (Overseas) passports.
  2. Educational Qualifications: Complete a degree, diploma, or trade certificate with at least two years of full-time study in an English institution in or outside Australia.
  3. Educational Background: Attended English-medium schools or institutions for specified durations:
    • Complete primary and at least three years of secondary education in English.
    • Complete at least five years of secondary education in English.
    • Undertake at least one year of full-time study towards a degree at an Australian institution in English.
    • Complete part-time study equivalent to one year of full-time study towards an award at an Australian institution in English.
TestAverage Test Score
IELTS 4.5
PTE Academic30
TOEFL iBT32
OETN/A
Cambridge C1 Advanced147

When should you provide English language evidence?

For visa subclasses Skilled Independent 189, Skilled Nominated 190, and Skilled Work Regional Provisional 491, you need to ensure that you meet the English language requirements by the time you receive an invitation to apply.

Similarly, for visa subclasses Skilled Regional 887 and Skilled Regional Permanent Resident 191 (Hong Kong stream), you must fulfil all necessary requirements by the time a decision is made on your application.

Validity Period of English Language Test

  • For Functional English Language Evidence: Ensure that the test was taken within the 12 months before you applied for the visa.
  • For Competent English Test: The language proficiency test must have been taken within 3 years of the application date to ensure relevancy and accuracy of the evidence.

Why English proficiency is important for skilled migration to Australia?

For skilled migrants, strong English language proficiency is essential. It ensures effective communication in the workplace, fostering collaboration and productivity. Moreover, being fluent in English helps you blend into Australian society by enabling you to connect with people, grasp the local culture, and engage in community activities. As a result, you will have access to a broader spectrum of career prospects and a richer experience living in Australia.

Mastering English unlocks a world of professional possibilities – from confidently presenting your skills in interviews to seamlessly collaborating with colleagues. We will clear you and guide you through the requirements, ensuring you meet the necessary standards and feel prepared to thrive in your new professional environment. Take control of your career journey. Contact us and get started on your path to a fulfilling Australian career.

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