English Language Requirement for Subclass 457 Visa
A primary 457 visa applicant is required to demonstrate ‘Vocational English’ unless one of the below exemptions apply.
Required scores to establish Vocational English are as follows:
- IELTS – International English Language Testing System: overall average score of 5, with a minimum score of at least 4.5 in each band; or
- OET – Occupational English Test: this is a test for medical and allied health professionals. A “B pass” is required for all 4 components of the OET; or
- TOEFL iBT: total band score of 36, with at least 3 in Listening and Reading and at least 12 in Speaking and Writing; or
- PTE Pearson Test of English (Academic): Average band score of 36, with minimum of 30 in each band; or
- CAE Cambridge English: Advanced: Average band score of 154, with minimum of 147 in each band.
You can complete your examination after lodgement of your 457 visa application. If you provide an English examination result at the time of lodgement, then an English examination result is valid for 3 years from the date of the examination.
Please note that the below exemptions are the only exemptions available:
Your country of passport
You hold a passport from Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States.
You have completed at least 5 years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where the instructing language is English. You will need to provide evidence of this.
You are exempt if your base annual salary is at least AUD $96,400. Please note that base salary excludes bonuses, incentive based pay, overtime pay etc.
If registration, licence or membership is required
The Australian regulatory body for your profession/occupation may specify that you need to demonstrate a certain level of English language ability before you can obtain the registration, licence or membership that is required for you to work in your profession/occupation in Australia.
If the required level of English language ability is equivalent to more than at least a score 5.0 in each of the 4 test components for an IELTS examination, then you need to meet the higher level of English language ability that is set by the regulatory body. You will need to provide evidence from the regulatory body which shows the level of English language ability that is set to obtain the required registration, licence or membership, and also evidence to show that you meet this.
If a lower or if no level of English language ability is set by the regulatory body, and none of the above exemptions apply, then you still need to satisfy the English language requirement and complete an IELTS or OET examination.
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Frequently asked questions
- Q: What if I took a gap year between high school and college/university (or at some other point during the course of your studies)?
A: The requirement does expressly state that 5 years of consecutive study is required
- Q: Do I need to provide evidence that I have completed 5 years of consecutive study?
A: If you are seeking this exemption, then yes.
- Q: What will be the English language requirement for when I apply for permanent residency with the sponsorship of my employer?
A: This is explained in detail in this post
- Q: Are you sure that an IELTS or OET result is only valid for 3 years?
A: For the purpose of a 457 visa application, yes
- Q: Are you sure that both Academic or General Training IELTS examinations are accepted?
- Q: Can I complete an IELTS or OET examination after lodgement and submit that?
A: No. You can only rely on an IELTS or OET result from an examination that was completed before the application is lodged
- Q: For an IELTS examination, if I have an overall score of 5 (or above), but did not each at least 5 in each band, will this be sufficient?
- Q: If I do not meet the English language requirement and I lodge my application anyway, can the Department approve it?
A: You need to satisfy all the relevant eligibility requirements. The Department will not approve an application that does not satisfy all the requirements
- Q: I do not satisfy any of the above exemptions, but I have clear evidence of my English language ability (e.g. I’ve worked in an English speaking country for a number of years, I’ve completed a number of years of study but don’t fit any of the exemptions outlined, I have professional membership, I’ve completed other English language examinations etc.), am I exempted from IELTS?
A: The only exemptions are both outlined above. If you do not satisfy any of the exemptions, then you need to complete an IELTS or OET examination
- Q: Do dependent 457 visa applicants need to satisfy any English language requirement?
A: Not for the purposes of the visa application (they may need this if they want to work in certain occupations in Australia)