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English Language Requirements in Australia

As English is the primary language in Australia, a significant amount of study, work and permanent residency visas have an English language requirement.

The minimum score requirement differs depending on each applicant’s personal circumstances.

Language Tests

The Department of Home Affairs (‘Department’) and assessing professional organisations accept the following English Test Certificates, all of which include reading, writing, speaking and listening components:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic or General Training)

There are two tests available: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The test you choose will depend on your individual circumstances and intentions in Australia. The Academic test is usually for entry into university. General training is used for migration purposes.

Length: three hours broken down into; listening (40 minutes), reading (60 minutes), writing (60 minutes), and speaking (11-14 minutes).

Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)

TOEFL is relatively similar to the IELTS test. However, certain graduate schools and various MBA programs typically require it.

Length: four hours broken down into; listening (40-57 minutes), reading (54-72 minutes), writing (50 minutes), and speaking (17 minutes).

Cambridge test

Each type of Cambridge exam caters to differing levels of English. You must first choose which exam is appropriate for your ability, by taking the Cambridge placement test.

Length: four hours broken down into; reading and use of English (90 minutes), writing (90 minutes), listening (40 minutes), and speaking (15 minutes).

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

The PTE test is created by Pearson, a well-known education publishing company in the United States. Of the three tests, PTE is the newest addition to the above.

Length: 2 and 15 minutes broken down into: listening (30-43 minutes), reading (30 minutes), and writing and speaking (54-67 minutes).

Occupational English Test (OET)

This English test was designed for healthcare professionals. It accurately reflects applicants‘ ability to communicate in an English-speaking healthcare workplace.

Length: three hours broken down into; listening (45 minutes), reading (60 minutes), writing (45 minutes), and speaking (20 minutes), and CBT speaking (20 minutes).

Validity of English Tests for Australian visa purposes

To demonstrate your English proficiency for Australian visa purposes, you need to prove that you have completed an English test within the 3 years prior to applying for a visa.

Levels of English

As noted, each English proficiency test has a different score system, as demonstrated with the below comparison.

Levels of English*

Each English proficiency test has a different score system, as demonstrated with the below comparison.

IELTS4.5 based on the 4 test components5 for each of the 4 test components 6 for each of the 4 test components 7 for each of the 4 test components 8 for each of the 4 test components
TOEFL iBT32 based on the 4 test components 4 for listening, 4 for reading, 14 for writing and 14 for speaking12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing and 23 for speaking28 for listening, 29 for reading, 30 for writing and 26 for speaking
30 based on the 4 test components 36 for each of the 4 components 50 for each of the 4 components 65 for each of the 5 test components 65 for each of the 5 test components 79 for each of the 4 test components
OETNAB for each of the 4 test components B for each of the 4 components B for each of the 4 test components A for each of the 4 test components
Cambridge147 based on the 4 test components 154 in each of the 4 test components 169 in each of the 4 components 185 in each of the 4 test components 200 in each of the 4 test components
Eligible passport holdersNot requiredNot requiredNot requiredNANA
Eligible former studentsNot requiredNANANANA

If our office can be of any assistance to you, or if you would like to discuss your visa options with one of our team members, please do not hesitate to call us on 1300 245 756 or submit an online enquiry today.

*Please note that this information is current as at 22 February 2022. The above is subject to change, we recommend that you contact our team to confirm the current information.  

Brisbane Office

1300 245 756

50 McDougall Street,
Milton, Brisbane, QLD, 4064

Gold Coast Office

1300 245 756

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2 Corporate Court,
Bundall, QLD, 4217

Sydney Office

1300 245 756

Level 3,
1 Castlereagh Street,
Sydney, NSW, 2000


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