English Level Requirement to Apply for Australian Visas
Australia’s national language is English. Anyone who wants to apply for Australian Student Visa, Skilled Visa, Business Visa (including some other types of Visas) needs to meet the English language requirements to apply for Visa.
Settling in a new country by leaving your motherland behind is not easy for most of the people unless they have the necessary skills to integrate into the new society they are moving in. English is one of these skills that are needed to make it easy for the newly arrived migrants and the students; to quickly settle and integrate into Australian society.
Therefore, the Australian Department of Home affairs requires the Student Visa, Skilled Visa and Business visa applicants to meet the English Language requirements.
Why English Level plays most crucial part.
Why is assessing your English Level one of the most crucial parts of your Visa journey?
Applicant’s, especially who are outside Australia (offshore) do not realise how crucial it is to achieve the maximum score in your English test.
I would suggest to keep reading below first to know the importance of good score and how it can help you in your PR or Citizenship journey.
I promise you would read the below very basic information with a different perspective after knowing why it is the most critical information about the English Language score.
Important: Assess your current English Level First
Assess your English Level on your own first:
For most people, it is difficult to assess their own Level of English unless they sit in the exam organised by the well-reputed English language test taker organisations like IELTS, PTE. You must sit in these exams to test your English level and to create evidence for the Department of Home Affairs and other authorities to meet and prove your English Level skills.
What is the required minimum score?
The most challenging question for me to answer is “What is the required minimum score?”
Most students and other Visa holders who are already inside Australia (onshore) on some type of substantive/valid visa would easily understand that it is not about “Minimum Score Required.” Instead, it is about how much score would be enough according to your individual circumstances.
However, I find it extremely challenging to explain the “Enough score concept” to the overseas applicants because they are not yet in the system and it is almost impossible for them to realise the difference between the “Minimum Score required” vs “ How much score is Enough”.
So what is the Minimum Score Required to meet the English Level requirement?
The Department of home affairs has set a minimum Level of English for most skills and business types of Visa (Unless exempted based on various criteria). This minimum level is called “Competent English”. You can not apply for the visa unless you have “Competent Level” of English.
Similarly, most international students need to achieve a certain level of score to get admissions in the Australian Universities. The requirement of the score is set by each university and is based on many factors. You can call it as “minimum score required” by the Australian universities. You will not get admission in an Australian university until you achieve the minimum required score desired by the University.
Is achieving required Minimum Score sufficient for you?
Is minimum English score enough or sufficient for you?
As explained earlier that you have to have proof of the minimum required score, but this doesn’t mean this minimum score is enough or sufficient score for you to get a visa.
Let me explain this with some examples:
Skilled Visa example:
Australia is one of the most popular destinations in the world for immigrants. A huge number of applications are received by the Department of home affairs and other State and territory agencies all the time. These applications include people who are already inside Australia on Student Visa or other non-permanent Visas; as well as applicants from overseas.
In most cases, the number of applications received for almost every occupation is much higher than the number of allocated seats or quota for each Visa type.
The massive number of applications means some people would have applied with the minimum required score; for example, six (6) each in IELTS. But, many would have applied with (7) each or (8) each score.
Ask yourself a question here. Which applicant should be given preference over the other applicants when the visa quota is limited? If you think like a Government official, obviously applicants with higher English Level would easily integrate into the society to contribute to the Australian economy as compare to the one with lower English level.
Department of Home Affairs has, therefore, allocated additional points for each level of English score to select the best applicants. It is important to note here that English is not the only criteria that get points. Many other factors can get you points, but obviously, the applicant with most accumulated points (including English) will win the game.
Why students should also try to focus on how much points are enough or sufficient, that may get them visa rather than what is the minimum score required.
In my practice, I have seen many students leaving my office with crazy smiles. Like they think I am out of my mind. I can read what’s written on their faces. They believe that am trying to be complicated or maybe I have some hidden agendas.
They, at their age, are not able to comprehend why this lady is asking to try for a higher score rather than asking for the minimum score required by the Australian Universities.
Let me try to explain this as well with an example.
Let’s dive into your past student life. Didn’t you notice that in your class, the student with higher grades would always attract respect and honor from your teachers, the school management and even from their own class-fellows?
Didn’t you notice in your home country that many schools and universities have some kind of entry exams or strict admission criteria so that they could get the best students out of the available lot?
If you answered “Yes”, you should straight away apply the same concept to the admissions in Australian Universities.
If your answer is “No”, meaning you think the Australian Universities and Australia is only concerned about the business or money that they earn from international students?
Guess what? You are right too. They are concerned about the business and money, but they know they will only be able to get more and more business if they keep the intake or admission standards high.
They give preference to the students who sit on the top of their criteria list. And, that’s how they maintain and improve their university’s overall ranking to earn a good name and eventually more money.
Even if you are lucky enough in getting “offer letter and COE” with a low score in English, think about the Visa officer (like your school’s principal) who will evaluate your file to see how competent you are. Remember, you cannot enter Australia until you clear all stages, including the issuance of the final visa by the Visa officer.
People don’t want to hear this.
Why don’t people want to know this?
Generally, visa applicants from overseas don’t want to know this because they always want to hear things from the “student counsellors, consultants or the unregistered migration agents” that sounds like music to their ears.
At this (pre-visa stage), they just want to go abroad without realising that they would always struggle to get PR unless they improve their scores to the maximum potential.
Mostly shady unregistered agents and consultants won’t tell you this because they won’t get part money from you in advance. You don’t need to blame them; they are there for the business. It’s your job to find out the realities and prepare for that.
I would advise you to act smart, find out the facts and don’t think short term. If you intend to settle in Australia permanently, think about the complete process involved till the end.
Five Levels of English for Australian Visa
You will need to meet the English language requirements to apply for Australian:
• student visas
• skilled visas
• some permanent visas
Different visa types have a different level of English requirement. Basically, the level of English is categorized into four levels. Click any button below to read about that specific level:
What is Functional English and how to prove?
If you need functional level of English. You need to prove it by providing evidence.
How to prove that you have functional level of English depends on your circumstances. Check below and find out what can apply according to your circumstances to provide evidence.
- Provide your passport if you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland.
- If you have completed a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate in an institution in or outside Australia that required at least two years of full-time study and all instructions were in English, provide the transcripts and the degree certificates.
- you undertook your education at:
a primary school and secondary school where all instruction was in English in or outside Australia
All years of primary and at least 3 years of secondary study
a secondary school in or outside Australia where all instruction was in English
At least 5 years of study
an institution in Australia where all instruction was in English
At least 1 year of full-time study towards an award
an institution in Australia where all instruction was in English
The part-time equivalent of 1 year of full-time study towards an award
- in the 12 months before you applied for the visa, you scored one of the following:
An average band score of at least 4.5 for each of the 4 test components
A total band score of at least 32 based on the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening
An overall band score of at least 30 for each of the 4 test components
An overall band score of at least 147 for each of the four test components
What is Vocational English level and how to prove it?
To prove you have vocational English, show the evidence that:
- you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland
- in the 3 years before you applied for the visa, you scored one of the following:
At least 5 for each of the 4 test components
At least 4 for listening, 4 for reading, 14 for writing and 14 for speaking
At least 36 for each of the 4 test components
At least B for each of the 4 test components
At least 154 in each of the 4 test components
What is competent English level and how to prove it?
To prove you have competent English, provide evidence:
- that you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland, with your application
- you have an obtained one of the following English language test results:
Specified test results
At least 6 for each of the 4 components
At least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking
At least 50 for each of the 4 components
At least B for each of the 4 components
At least 169 in each of the 4 components
What is proficient English level and how to prove it?
To prove you have Proficient English, show the evidence that in the 3 years before you have got invitation to apply for the visa, you scored one of the following:
At least 7 for each of the 4 test components
At least 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing and 23 for speaking
At least 65 for each of the 4 test components
At least B for each of the 4 test components
At least 185 in each of the 4 test components
Some visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages to find out.
What is superior English level and how to prove it?
To prove you have Superior English, show the evidence that in the 3 years before you are invited to apply for the visa, you scored one of the following:
At least 8 for each of the 4 test components
At least 28 for listening, 29 for reading, 30 for writing and 26 for speaking
At least 79 for each of the 4 test components
At least A for each of the 4 test components
At least 200 in each of the 4 test components