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New English Requirements - do they apply to me?

Written By Lauren Mennie
Tue, Nov 25, 2014
Lauren Mennie

If you are a 457 visa holder (or about to apply for one) you may have read with interest the recent changes to the English Language Definitions made by the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection. Those changes took affect on 23 November 2014 but they do not apply to 457 visa applications at this time.

Since 23rd November 2014, applicants who are required to demonstrate that they have a particular level of English Language, specifically vocational, competent, superior or proficient levels of English Language. Applicants who are required to demonstrate that they have English to one of those levels, can now chose to sit one of four different tests . The four tests that can be sat are:

  • International English Language Testing System [General} (“IELTS”)

  • Occupational English Language Test (“OET”)

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (“TOEFL iBT) - New Test; or

  • Pearson Test of English [Academic] (“PTE Academic”) - New Test.

This link shows the new minimum results for each test that are required in order to meet the various definitions. http://www.tssimmigration.com.au/downloads/English_Language_Classifications_and_required_scores.pdf

As we mentioned above, these changes do not affect applications for 457 visas. This is because a separate legal instrument applies to the required level of English Language for primary 457 visa applicants and this was not changed on 23 November. This means that as of today the 25th of November 2014 the English Language requirements for 457 visa applications have not changed.

If you are applying for a 457 visa and you need to demonstrate that you have the required level of English Language then you need to be able to provide one of the following:

  1. An IELTS test result that is less than 3 years old showing you have scored at least 5 in each of the 4 areas (your overall score is not relevant); or

  2. An OET test result that is less than 3 years old showing you have scored at least B in each of the 4 areas; or

  3. Evidence that your base rate of pay will be at least $96,400 per annum.

You will be considered an exempt applicant and will not need to provide the above, if you:

  1. You hold a passport from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland (and are a citizen); or

  2. You have completed at least 5 years consecutive, full-time study at a secondary and/or higher education institution where the language of instruction was in English.

Changes to the English Language requirements for 457 Visas

The Department of Immigration have recently concluded a study into the 457 visa program. The report that was issued looked at many aspects of the 457 visa program including the English Language requirements. There were a number of recommendations made about changing the English Language requirements for the 457 visa but presently, no decisions have been made about this.

It is likely that the Department are considering all recommendations in the report (including those about the English Language Requirements) before making any changes to the program.

As soon as a change has been made to the English Language requirements or any other aspect of the 457 visa program, we will provide updates.

Common Questions

  1. I have completed the TOEFL iBT, can I use this for the 457 visa? At the moment you cannot use the result of this test for a 457 visa

  2. I have completed a four year degree where the language of study was English do I have to sit an IELTS/OET test for my 457 visa? Yes you will

  3. I have scored 6 overall in my IELTS exam but only 4.5 in reading. Will I be able to use this for a 457 visa? No, you will need to score at least 5 in each of the 4 areas in order to demonstrate the required level of English for the 457 visa.

  4. I have scored at least 5 in all 4 areas but in two different IETLS tests. Can I use both results for my 457 visa? No; you must score at least 5 in each of the 4 areas in the same test result. You cannot combine results.

  5. I heard I can use TOEFL iBT or PTE Academic for my 457 visa now? No, this is not correct. At the moment only the IETLS or the OET tests can be used to demonstrate English Language requirements.

Written by Lauren Slack, Registered Migration Agent at TSS Immigration MARN 0957855

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