Here is a list of the most commonly used Australian visas and their English requirements.
From 14 December 2022, IELTS One Skill Retake (OSR) will be available for certain test takers. OSR allows test takers to retake one of the four test components in either reading, writing, speaking or listening (once only).
For Australian visa purposes, the Department will accept IELTS test results that include OSR, with the exception of applications for subclasses 476, 482, and 485, which need scores from a single sitting/attempt.
Level of English required for all Australian visas
|Visa Type||Level of English|
|482 TSS Visa|
|ENS 186 visa||IELTS 6 in all skills or equivalent|
|RSMS 187 visa||IELTS 6 in all skills or equivalent|
|Most Skilled Migration visas (189 visa, 190 visa and 491 visa and 494 visa)||
Other Australian visas and their English requirements:
- Training visa (subclass 407): Functional English (average 4.5 in IELTS or equivalent)
- Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408): Functional English (average 4.5 in IELTS or equivalent)
- Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403): No English requirement
- Graduate Temporary 485 Visa: IELTS (Academic or General Training) overall average of 6 and at least 5 in each band or equivalent (or equivalent)
- Recognised Graduate (476): Overall score of at least IELTS 6 with a minimum score of 5 for each of the 4 parts (or equivalent)
- Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887): No English requirement for the main applicant
- Distinguished Talent visa (124 visa): All applicants must have functional English or you will need to pay an extra charge, called the second instalment to be granted this visa
- Functional English: for secondary applicants seeking to avoid paying the English Language Charge
188A & 188B Business visas: There is no minimum English language requirement for the business migration subclasses. However, applicants with less than functional English will need to pay an English Language Charge before receiving their visas.
Points are available for:
- Vocational English (5 minimum in each of the 4 components of IELTS or equivalent): 5 points
- Proficient English (7 minimum in each of the 4 components of IELTS or equivalent): 10 points
Validity of English Tests
Tests conducted up to 3 years prior to lodgement of an application are accepted by the Department of Immigration.
Applications that need a functional English require testing to have been done at most 12 months before lodgement.
A summary of test score equivalencies for all English language tests accepted by the department is provided below.
|English Language proficiency level||IELTS||TOEFL iBT||PTE Academic||OET||Cambridge (CAE)|
|Vocational||5.5||Listening & Reading 4.0
Writing & Speaking 14
|Competent||6.0||Listening: 12 Reading: 13
Writing: 21 Speaking: 18
|Proficient (for points tested
|7.0||Listening & Reading: 24
Writing: 27 Speaking: 23
|Superior (for points tested
|8.0||Listening: 28 Reading: 29
Writing: 30 Speaking: 26
Competent English (IELTS 6 or equivalent)
For most skilled visas, you will need to show at least Competent English to meet the threshold criteria. If you hold a passport from one of the following 5 countries, you can establish competent English without completing an English test:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Covid-19 and at home language tests
Some testing centres have tests that you can take at home, such as TOEFL iBT – Special Home Edition, OET@Home and IELTS Indicator. DHA does not currently accept these tests.
English testing organisations will sometimes adjust their score ranges as new research and knowledge about English testing is developed. We consider these changes carefully before we make any adjustments to the scores required for our English Levels. Where it is decided that scores will change, a notice will be put on this website with information on how it may impact you.
If you would like to find out more about the English language requirements or discuss your visa options further, please book an appointment.
Remote or ‘at home’ English language tests not acceptable
When applying for student, skilled and some permanent visas, you will need to meet our English language requirements. The Department does not accept scores from remote or ‘at home’ English language tests as evidence of English language competency. For more information about English language test scores DHA accept for visa purposes, please refer to our English language.