Study in Australia: English Language Visa Requirements

Monday 4 December 2023
Australia visa, English language requirements, IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, OET, Cambridge English, Functional English, Vocational English, Competent English, Proficient English, Superior English, study in Australia, work in Australia, Australian visa application, English proficiency tests, language visa requirements
Study in Australia: English Language Visa Requirements

Australia's visa system requires English language proficiency for applicants seeking to study or work in the country. The level of English required varies depending on the visa subclass. Applicants should refer to the eligibility page of the specific visa subclass for detailed requirements and evidence submission guidelines.

Accepted English Language Tests

The Department of Home Affairs accepts scores from the following tests taken at secure test centers:

  1. International English Language Testing System (IELTS), including One Skill Retake (OSR).
  2. Pearson Test of English (PTE).
  3. Cambridge English (CAE), also known as C1 Advanced.
  4. Occupational English Test (OET), tailored for health professionals.
  5. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), valid until 25 July 2023.

IELTS One Skill Retake (OSR)

From 14 December 2022, IELTS OSR is available, allowing test-takers to retake one component (reading, writing, speaking, or listening) once.

TOEFL iBT Update

After 26 July 2023, TOEFL iBT will not offer tests for Australian visa purposes.

Visa Subclass Requirements

IELTS results, including OSR, are accepted except for subclasses 476, 482, and 485, which require scores from a single sitting.

Levels of English Proficiency

To fully understand the English language visa requirements for Australia, it's essential to delve into the specifics of each proficiency level. Here's an expanded view of each level:

1. Functional English

To prove functional English, applicants must demonstrate basic language skills necessary for everyday social and work environments. Evidence can include:

  • Holding a valid passport from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, or the Republic of Ireland.
  • Completing a degree, higher degree, diploma, or trade certificate that required at least two years of full-time study, with all instructions in English.
  • Studying at educational institutions where all instruction was in English, fulfilling specific time requirements.

Test Score Requirements:

  • IELTS Academic or General Training: An average band score of at least 4.5 based on the 4 test components.
  • TOEFL iBT: A total band score of at least 32.
  • PTE Academic: A total band score of at least 30.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE): A total band score of at least 147.

2. Vocational English

Vocational English is a higher level of proficiency, suitable for vocational training and most work environments. Evidence for this level includes:

  • A valid passport from the aforementioned English-speaking countries.
  • Achieving minimum scores in English language proficiency tests within three years before the visa application.

Test Score Requirements:

  • IELTS: At least 5 for each of the 4 test components.
  • TOEFL iBT: At least 4 for listening and reading, and 14 for writing and speaking.
  • PTE Academic: At least 36 for each test component.
  • OET: At least a B grade for each component.
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced test: At least 154 in each component.

3. Competent English

Competent English demonstrates an effective command of the language and is suitable for professional environments. Evidence includes:

  • Holding a valid passport from the specified English-speaking countries.
  • Meeting higher test score requirements.

Test Score Requirements:

  • IELTS: At least 6 for each component.
  • TOEFL iBT: At least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing, and 18 for speaking.
  • PTE Academic: At least 50 for each component.
  • OET: At least a B grade in each component.
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced test: At least 169 in each component.

4. Proficient English

Proficient English indicates a high level of language ability, necessary for professional roles requiring complex communication. Evidence involves achieving even higher test scores.

Test Score Requirements:

  • IELTS: At least 7 for each test component.
  • TOEFL iBT: At least 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing, and 23 for speaking.
  • PTE Academic: At least 65 for each component.
  • OET: At least a B grade in each component.
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced test: At least 185 in each component.

5. Superior English

Superior English represents an advanced level of proficiency, often required for specialized professional roles. This level demonstrates a person's adeptness in using English for highly effective communication in all social, professional, and academic situations.

Test Score Requirements:

  • IELTS: At least 8 for each of the 4 test components.
  • TOEFL iBT: Scores significantly higher than the proficient level.
  • PTE Academic: Significantly higher scores than the proficient level.
  • OET: High-grade scores in each component.
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced test: Scores considerably higher than proficient level requirements.

Each level builds upon the previous one, with increasing demands in terms of language skills and test scores. Applicants must ensure they meet the specific requirements of their intended visa subclass and prepare accordingly to achieve the necessary level of English proficiency.

Conclusion

Applicants must carefully review the specific requirements for their visa subclass and ensure they meet the English language proficiency standards set by the Australian Department of Home Affairs. Regular updates and changes in scores or requirements will be posted on the official website. For specific queries, applicants should contact the test providers or consult the official visa information pages.

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