Language Ability

Certain visas are granted only if the applicant is competent in English language, other skills and attributes which will contribute the most to the Australian economy. In fact language skills are a critical aspect of surviving financially and socially for the migrants.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a testing system for assessing an applicant’s English language ability for migration purposes. This system is accepted by the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Alternatively, the Occupational English Test (OET), Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT), Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), Cambridge English Advanced may also acceptable. For further details Department of Immigration’s website can be visited.

IELTS’s official website provides in-depth information for the test takers including the test centres, dates and fee.  Based on the competency in listening, reading, writing and speaking skills the applicants are graded on a 9 band scale. Here band 9 indicates an expert user of English language.

Complete details of the IELTS bands can be viewed online, as well. Different visa classes and sub classes have specific requirement in terms of English language ability. Thereby the test scores needed to qualify for visa grant differs.  Essentially, separate tests apply to the skilled migrants (General Training Module) and the international students (Academic module).

It is also noteworthy that the type of visa being applied for decides when the English language test results would be considered. Considering booking of the tests, receiving bands and validity of the results, applicants must plan ahead of time. 

English Language proficiency level Test component IELTS TOEFL iBT PTE Academic
Functional Average across test components only 4.5 32 30
Vocational Listening 5 4 36
  Reading 5 4 36
  Writing 5 14 36
  Speaking 5 14 36
Competent Listening 6 12 50
  Reading 6 13 50
  Writing 6 21 50
  Speaking 6 18 50
Proficient (for points tested Skilled visas) Listening 7 24 65
  Reading 7 24 65
  Writing 7 27 65
  Speaking 7 23 65
Superior (for points tested Skilled visas) Listening 8 28 79
  Reading  8 29 79
  Writing 8 30 79
  Speaking 8 26 79
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