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Skilled Migration Application

Skilled Migration Application: English Language Requirement

When applying for Skilled Migration, you are required to prove your English language competence. There are 4 different levels of English which are applicable, and this is based on the visa subclass you are applying for:

Superior English: 20 points in GSM points test
Proficient English: 10 points in GSM points test
Competent English: threshold requirement for General Skilled Migration and ENS/RSMS Direct Entry
Vocational English: threshold requirement for ENS/RSMS Temporary Residence Transition Stream
Functional English: for secondary applicants seeking to avoid paying the English Language Charge

When should you take the test?

The timing of the test is based on the visa type.
General Skilled Migration: at the time of invitation
RSMS and ENS visas: at the time of application
Please plan ahead of time, as it can take some time to obtain a booking for a test and to receive the results.

Validity of English Test Results

The Department of Immigration will accept results of tests conducted up to 3 years prior to lodgement of an application.  
An exception to this is for the functional English test which requires testing to have been done a maximum of 12 months before lodgement.

Acceptable English Tests

The IELTS test is the most common way of demonstrating your competence in the English language. Both the Academic or General Training versions of the test are acceptable to the Department of Immigration. However, some skills assessing authorities require applicants to sit the Academic version. Note that you will need to obtain a minimum score in each band of the IELTS (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking) in a single sitting.

The Occupational English Test (OET) also demonstrates evidence of proficient and superior levels of English. This is only applicable for medical and allied health professionals.

Two other tests, the Pearson Academic Test of English (Pearson PTE) and TOEFL Internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT) are now accepted for all skilled subclasses. These tests are recognised by most state and territory governments, as well as some skills assessment authorities.

The Cambridge Test of English has also been accepted since January 2015.

Vocational English

Those who have held a 457 visa for 2 years with the employer must demonstrate proficiency in Vocational English to obtain ENS and RSMS visa through the Temporary Residence Transitional stream .
The minimal scores for Vocational English tests are as follows: 

 


Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

IELTS

5

5

5

5

TOEFL iBT

4

4

14

14

PTE Academic

36

36

36

36

OET

B

B

B

B

Cambridge(CAE)

154

154

154

154


Competent English

Those who are applying for most skilled visas will need to show at least Competent English as a minimal acceptable threshold. Applicants  who hold a passport from one of the following 5 countries can establish competent English without appearing for an English test:
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States
Ireland

Applicants from other countries must complete a recognised English language test and obtain the following minimal score: 

 


Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

IELTS

6

6

6

6

TOEFL iBT

12

13

21

18

PTE Academic

50

50

50

50

OET

B

B

B

B

Cambridge(CAE)

169

169

169

169


Note that Competent English gives you 0 points in the Skilled Migration Points Test, but it is an essential requirement for lodging a skilled visa.

Proficient English

Those who demonstrate proficient English will get 10 points for English language ability.
Applicants who are native English speakers must still undertake English language testing in order to obtain points for proficient English or higher.

 The minimum scores required to establish Proficient English are: 

 


Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

IELTS

7

7

7

7

TOEFL iBT

24

24

27

23

PTE Academic

65

65

65

65

OET

B

B

B

B

Cambridge(CAE)

185

185

185

185


Superior English

Candidates who demonstrate superior English can get the maximum of 20 points for English language ability. 

The minimum scores required to establish Superior English are: 

 


Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

IELTS

8

8

8

8

TOEFL iBT

28

29

30

26

PTE Academic

79

79

79

79

OET

A

A

A

A

Cambridge(CAE)

200

200

200

200


Functional English

If your spouse or partner has below functional English, then you must pay an additional "English Education Charge" for English language tuition, while applying for skilled migration.

Functional English ability can be established by providing evidence of one of the following:

 

  • Completion of a degree, higher degree, diploma or trade certificate requiring at least 2 years of study in English medium

  • Completion of all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education in English medium; or

  • Completion of at least 5 years of secondary education in English medium; or

  • Scoring at least 4.5 averaged over the four components of the IELTS test within the 12 months before application, or during processing; or

  • Completion in Australia of at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma in English medium.

There are special conditions under which functional English can be established through an interview.
Abilities in functional English can also be demonstrated by completing an English test and scoring as follows: 

 

Test component

Average across test components only

IELTS

4.5

TOEFL iBT

8

PTE Academic

30

OET

n/a

Cambridge(CAE)

147


As Skilled migration applications can be very complex, we would advise you to contact us to check your likely eligibility for skilled migration before you proceed to apply.