Complete Guide To English Language Testing For Australian Immigration

Complete Guide To English Language Testing For Australian Immigration 2

The English Language Requirements depend on your nationality and the Visa Subclass that you are applying for.

Being test on your English and determining the level of English fluency that you are required to show is a daunting prospect for many clients. Yet don’t be disheartened

There are a few different English language tests accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.

The proficiency level you need to reach will depend on the Visa Subclass you’re applying for.

Vocational English

Required scores to establish Vocational English are as follows: 

TOEFL iBT441414
PTE Academic36363636
Cambridge (CAE)154154154154

Competent English

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:

  1. Canada
  2. New Zealand
  3. United Kingdom
  4. United States
  5. Ireland

Otherwise, you would need to complete a recognised English language test and obtain the following score:

TOEFL iBT12132118
PTE Academic50505050
Cambridge (CAE)169169169169

Competent English gives you 0 points in the Skilled Migration Points Test, but is an essential requirement to be able to lodge a skilled visa.

Proficient English

If you demonstrate proficient English, this will give you 10 points for English language ability.

Even native English speakers must undertake English language testing to obtain points for proficient English or higher.

Scores required for Proficient English are: 

TOEFL iBT24242723
PTE Academic65656565
Cambridge (CAE)185185185185

Superior English

If you demonstrate superior English, this will give the maximum of 20 points for English language ability. Minimum scores for Superior English are: 

TOEFL iBT28293026
PTE Academic79797979
Cambridge (CAE)200200200200

Functional English

If your spouse or partner has less than functional English, then you would need to pay the “English Education Charge” to cover English language tuition in applying for skilled migration.

You can show you have functional English ability by providing evidence of one of the following:

  1. Completion of a degree, higher degree, diploma or trade certificate that required at least 2 years of study in English medium
  2. Completion of all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education in English medium; or
  3. Completion of at least 5 years of secondary education in English medium; or
  4. Scoring at least 4.5 averaged over the four components of the IELTS test within the 12 months before application, or during processing; or
  5. Completion in Australia of at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma in English medium.
  6. In some circumstances, functional English can be established via interview

You can also demonstrate functional English by completing an English test and scoring as follows:

Test componentAverage across test components only
PTE Academic30
Cambridge (CAE)147

Whichever test type you take, you’ll find plenty of practice exams available. We highly recommend that you spend time properly preparing and taking practice tests. By familiarising yourself with the exam format and type of questions you’re up against, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success.


Prepare for IELTS by taking these free practice tests. We recommend timing yourself and comparing your answers with the model answers supplied.

Find a test centre here.


View questions from previous tests and see how the exam is structured.

Find an exam centre near you.

Cambridge Advanced English

Find out what you’re up against by taking a mock CAE test.

You’ll need to take your test at an authorised exam centre, find a location close to you.

Occupational English Test

Visit the OET preparation portal and prepare by downloading free sample materials.

The OET can be taken every month in 35 countries. Find your closest exam centre.

PTE Academic

You’ll find a preparation resources section on the PTE Academic website.

Find your closest test centre and view exam fees.

What’s Next

If you’re using a Registered Migration Agent to manage your application, they will provide you with some handy exam tips and recommend the best test option for you.

Contact an agent at Summit Migration to provide a visa assessment and discuss the migration pathways open to you.

The Skilled Occupation List (Changes for 2019)

The Skilled Occupation List (Changes for 2019) 4

Each year, the department of Immigration and Border Protection issues a Consolidated Skill Occupation List (CSOL) in order to assist people wanting to migrate to Australia to find out what skills and what occupations are in demand in Australia. As the Australian economy experiences growth every year job demand shifts and therefore the government adjusts the CSOL with occupations that cannot be filled by Australians.

The Department publishes this comprehensive consolidated skilled occupation list each year on their website available here.

The skilled occupation list targets people with the right occupations used to migrate to Australia under Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visas that can provide in-demand skills to the Australian economy over the medium to the long term. As such, the Subclass 189 is an effective pathway to permanent residency in Australia. Any independent person who intends to permanently migrate to Australia and is not applying for Employer Sponsored Visa should examine whether their particular occupation is listed on the consolidated skill occupation list before applying.
If you have an occupational on the Consolidated Skill Occupation List (CSOL), you can apply for a points based skilled visa to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. In order to do that, you first need to submit what’s known as an Expression of Interest (EOI).

The primary criteria for a General Skilled visa is:
• Your occupation or skill must be on the relevant skilled occupation list.
• You must obtain a skills assessment for that occupation.
• You must be under the required age of 50 years old.
• You must acquire the relevant points as required by the criteria.
• You must have the required level of English.

As mentioned above, the skilled occupation list is subject to yearly change. During this annual change, many occupations are removed or added to the list. Generally, the department uses this to regulate the supply of labor, skills and occupations it dims that are in demand in a particular year. On 11 March 2019, the Department updated the CSOL with a number of new occupations affecting General Skilled and Employer-sponsored migration.

In 2019, 36 occupations have been added to the Skilled Occupation List:
• Artistic Director
• Arts Administrator or Manager
• Biochemist
• Biotechnologist
• Botanist
• Chemist
• Conservator
• Dancer or Choreographer
• Economist
• Engineering Professionals NEC
• Environmental Consultant
• Environmental Manager
• Environmental Research Scientist
• Environmental Scientists NEC
• Food Technologist
• Footballer
• Geophysicist
• Horse Trainer
• Hydrogeologist
• Life Scientist (General)
• Life Scientists NEC
• Marine Biologist
• Metallurgist
• Meteorologist
• Microbiologist
• Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum)
• Multimedia Specialist
• Music Director
• Musician (Instrumental)
• Natural and Physical Science Professionals NEC
• Petroleum Engineer
• Software and Applications Programmers NEC
• Statistician
• Tennis Coach
• University Lecturer
• Zoologist

Keep in mind that there are different occupation lists for Skilled Migration and Employer Sponsored migration – even though they have the same names. You should check with a migration agent to ensure you are referencing the correct list.

Summit Migration is an international migration company and our offices are based in South Brisbane. We have a team of expert registered migration agents and solicitors ready to take all the complexity out of the skilled occupation lists and working visas for those who intend to immigrate to Australia. We’ve been operating in the region for years, and have extensive combined industry experience. Let us help you migrate to Australia with our migration service for you and for your family.