Changes to English language testing requirements across various visa programmes

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The Department of Immigration has recently released some good news for visa applicants in regards to the English language, providing more alternatives to meet this requirement across the Temporary Graduate, Skilled, Former Resident, and Work and Holiday visa programmes.

From November 2014, the department will accept English language test scores from 2 different providers: Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic); and from early 2015, scores from the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test will also be accepted.

Historically, the Department of Immigration has only accepted the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Occupational English Test (OET) as the only alternatives to meet the English language requirement with the exception of student visas, where scores from IELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) have been accepted since 2011.

These changes will be implemented across most visa subclasses that require an English Language test as part of the criteria which must be met to be granted a visa. It is important to note that the 457 visa is currently undergoing an independent review; therefore; it is not included in the list of visa subclasses that will benefit from these changes yet. Stay tuned for further updates about this though.

It is very important for visa applicants to remember that you should always make sure which requirements you and all your family members must meet before making a visa application. In particular, it is extremely important to note the English requirement is not the same across all visa subclasses and other related processes (for example, the skills assessment process). Furthermore, the English requirement may be different for each member of your family unit. This includes, for example, the competency level required, the type of test you need, if it is a pre or post lodgment requirement, and the actual validity of each test.

Another very important thing to have in mind is that the TOEFL iBT and PTE Academic test scores will be benchmarked against the IELTS equivalent score for each English language proficiency level (Functional, Vocational, Competent, Proficient or Superior). Later this year, the Department of Immigration will publish the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test score equivalencies that the department will accept from early 2015.

This is a summary of test score equivalencies for all English language tests accepted by the department from November 2014:

English Language proficiency level

Test component

IELTS

TOEFL iBT

PTE Academic

OET

Functional

Average across test components only

4.5

32

30

n/a

Vocational

Listening

5.0

4

36

B

Reading

5.0

4

36

B

Writing

5.0

14

36

B

Speaking

5.0

14

36

B

Competent

Listening

6.0

12

50

B

Reading

6.0

13

50

B

Writing

6.0

21

50

B

Speaking

6.0

18

50

B

Proficient (for points tested Skilled visas)

Listening

7.0

24

65

B

Reading

7.0

24

65

B

Writing

7.0

27

65

B

Speaking

7.0

23

65

B

Superior (for points tested Skilled visas)

Listening

8.0

28

79

A

Reading

8.0

29

79

A

Writing

8.0

30

79

A

Speaking

8.0

26

79

A

There is a lot of misinformation out there about this topic; therefore, I would strongly suggest you consider getting professional advice before making any visa application.

Would you like to know if you qualify for an Australian Visa?

You can start the process by taking a free online assessment.

I look forward to helping you turn your Australian permanent residence dream into a reality. As a migrant to Australia myself (I am from Mexico and arrived in Australia on a skilled visa), I really understand just how important your visa application is to you.

National Visas’ registered migration agents are skilled, dedicated migration professionals—we’d love to help you achieve your dream.

Regards,

Alfonso Varela
Migration Advisor
MARN: 1278626

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Alfonso Varela

Migration Advisor at National Visas
As a migrant to Australia myself, I really understand just how important your visa application is to you and your family.

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