The Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) assesses visa applicants’ English language proficiency for Student visas, skilled visas and some permanent visa applications.
The visa applicant are exempt from needing to prove English language proficiency if one of the following apply:
- If they hold passport from:
- New Zealand
- the Republic of Ireland
- the United Kingdom
- the United States of America
- if they have completed at least 5 years of full-time study in at least a secondary level institution and where most classes were in English. The Department will require the following information:
- name and location of the institution/s
- level of qualification/s
- official transcript from the secondary and/or tertiary institution
- number of contact hours per week in English
- number of years of study
- if nominated occupation in Australia will be performed at:
- diplomatic or consular mission of another country
- an Office of the Authorities of Taiwan
- if nominated occupation requires the visa applicant:
- to hold a licence, registration or membership
- you were granted the licence, registration, or membership
- you had to prove that you had equal or higher English language proficiency than that listed in the table below to be granted the licence, registration or membership
- if applicant is:
- an employee of an overseas business
- the business or its associated entity has nominated you to work in Australia
- you will receive a guaranteed annual earnings of at least AUD 96,400
What are the approved English language tests for Australian visa?
Unless the visa applicant falls within one of the above exemptions, they will require to prove their English language proficiency if they apply visa in the Short term stream or Medium term stream, and the visa applicant needs to:
- achieve the required test scores set out for the visa, in a single attempt at the test
- complete the test within 3 years before the date of submitting a valid visa application
The following is a list of approved English language tests for Australian visa purposes:
- Occupational English Test (OET) – The four sub-tests that make up the OET are reported on a scale from 0 to 500 in ten-point increments (e.g. 350, 360, 370 etc). The numerical score will be mapped to a separate letter grade for each sub-test ranging from A (highest) to E (lowest). The applicant can see an overview of their latest test scores via an online profile on the OET website, approximately 16 business days after each test day. Official copies of Statements of Results can be downloaded from the website. The cost of the test is AUD $587.00
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – IELTS assesses the visa applicant’s English proficiency on a scale from 1–9 in four skills: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The visa applicant has a choice of two test versions – IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training – depending on the requirements for the visa. The IELTS is computer delivered in Australia. The Test Report Form will be available 13 days after completion of the test. The results will also be available to view online for 28 days. The cost of the English test is AUD $340.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) – The TOEFL iBT® test is given in English and administered via the internet. There are 4 sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing) which take a total of about 4 ½ hours to complete, including check-in. Scores will be posted online approximately 10 days after the test date. A PDF copy of the test taker score report is also available for download. The PDF will be available within 3 days of the date the scores are posted online. The cost for the test is US $300.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test (also known as Certificate in Advanced English) – The exam is made up of four papers developed to test the English language skills. The Speaking test is taken face to face, with two candidates and two examiners. The Statement of Results is released online, approximately four to six weeks after the exam for paper-based exams, and two to three weeks after the exam for computer-based exams. The fees for the CAE exam is AUD $320.
- Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic – PTE Academic assesses listening, reading, speaking and writing all via computer in a single three hour test session. PTE Academic scores are accessed via an online account. An email notifying the scores are available will be sent in 5 working days. The cost for PTE test is AUD $340.
The required marks to meet the English language requirements among these tests are not the same. The score requirements will be different depending on the test the visa applicant has undertaken.
What are the English language proficiency levels?
There are five different levels of English language proficiency as prescribed under the Migration legislation, the visa applicant requires to achieve for the visa:
- Proficient; and
The proficiency level required will be dependent on the visa subclass applied by the visa applicant.
Migration Centre of Australia
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