Registered Migration Agent No. 0742052

English Language Testing

Immigration criteria requires visa applicants to prove their English language skills by undertaking a specified English language test.

Approved tests are:

  1. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  2. Occupational English Test (OET)
  3. Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT)
  4. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  5. Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test (also known as Certificate in Advanced English).

 

 

 

 

 

This article discusses the IELTS test in more detail.

IELTS:

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assesses the English language proficiency of visa applicants who want to migrate to Australia.

IELTS tests are held all over Australia (and across the world) up to four times a month.

IELTS tests all four language skills:

     • listening,

     • reading,

     • writing,

     • speaking.

Structure:

The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face interview with a certified Examiner. There are two versions of the test – Academic or General - depending on:

a) visa requirements, and/or

b) licensing/registration, and/or

c) skill assessment purposes.

For examples some professions like Physiotherapists are required to undertake the Academic version and score a minimum of 7 on each component to pass the skills assessment.

All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking components but different Reading and Writing components.

Cost:

• $330

Duration:

The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date.

Website http://www.ielts.org/default.aspx

Depending on the type of visa application, there are different English language thresholds the visa applicant may be required to meet.

For example, there are 5 levels of English the applicant can be required to meet, i.e., Functional, Vocational, Competent, Proficient and Superior.

Different levels of English skill:

(1) Functional English.

IELTS average band score of at least 4.5 based on the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening:

• not more than 12 months before lodging the relevant application to migrate; or

• at the time of the processing of the relevant application to migrate

Other exemptions also apply to Functional English, for example the visa applicant:

1. has completed all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education at educational institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or

2. has completed at least 5 years of secondary education at institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or

3. has completed, in Australia, at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma at an institution or institutions where all the instruction was conducted in English.

(2) Vocational English.

IELTS test score of at least 5 for each of the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening.

Exempt:

Passport holders of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland.

(3) Competent English.

IELTS test score of at least 6 for each of the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening.

0 points are awarded towards Skilled Migration.

Exempt:

Passport holders of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland.

(4) Proficient English.

IELTS test score of at least 7 for each of the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening.

10 points are awarded towards Skilled Migration.

(5) Superior English.

IELTS score of at least 8 in each of the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening.

20 points are awarded towards Skilled Migration.

Different visa subclasses have different English language skill requirements.

457 visa:

Unless registration/licensing exists for the occupation, applicants must achieve an IELTS test score of at least 5.0 in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening.

Exemptions do apply to citizens of specified countries, some specific occupations, and also highly paid positions.

The scores must have been achieved in a single attempt at the test and the test must have been completed within 3 years of the visa application date.

457 visa applicants should take test before applying for their visa, however it’s open to the Immigration Dept. to request the applicant to sit the next available test, and provide the result before deciding the application.

ENS Subclass 186 visa:

• Temporary Residence Transition stream - Vocational English.

• Direct Entry stream - Competent English.

Exemptions apply to certain passport holders (United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand).

ENS 186 visa applicants must undertake the test BEFORE lodging the visa application.

Skilled Migration,

For example, Subclass 489/189/190 visa applicants:

• Competent English is the minimum level required. However, applicants may need Proficient or Superior English to pass the points test.

Skilled Migration visa applicants must undertake the test BEFORE lodging the visa application.

Validity of tests:

Test scores are generally valid for 3 years. Applicants must provide the results from a test undertaken not more than 3 years before visa application date.