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:

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.


Your education


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.


Your salary


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


  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Q: Are you sure that both Academic or General Training IELTS examinations are accepted?
    A: Yes
  6. 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
  7. 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?
    A: No
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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)

351 thoughts on “English Language Requirement for Subclass 457 Visa

  1. TED

    Hi Peng,

    I would like to know more about English test exemption. I have worked at Australian national research institutes (one the major government company) for 3 years with holding a 457 VISA. Recently, I am trying to extend my 457 VISA. However, I did not realise that english score needs to apply renewal VISA. My old IELTS score was expired (it was overall 5.5 about 3.5 years ago). Also my current 457 VISA will be expired within 25 days which means even if I took test in this week, it will take more than three weeks to get score. So could you please provide me any smart advice for this situation?

    Here is some details;

    1. I am working at same company for three years and my company has approved a three year extension for my contract until 2020.
    2. My 457 VISA has been nominated by the company and I have the IMMA Approval of Nomination Notification (I have a TRN now).
    3. My work is related science research. So my working place is enough to meet the higher level of English language ability than the requirement of 457 VISA’s english score. I think I can ask some letter for approve this evidence from my HR team and my supervisor.
    4. salary is over AUD $96,400 including a superannuation, but without the super, the salary is slightly below AUD $93,000.

    I am looking forward to hear from you soon.

    Warm regards,


    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Ted,
      Sorry you can’t count superannuation, only base salary:
      (a) the base rate of pay has the same meaning as in subregulation 2.57(1) of the Regulations; and
      (b) the level of salary is AUD 96,400.

  2. gurman

    hi peng
    i have applied for 457 visa . as i wanna know that whether indian ambassy or australian ambassy will grant me the visa . i have applied here in india or also want to know timing as autrian or indian i got visa

  3. Sam

    Hi Peng
    Thank you for your excellent work and assistance.
    My 457 visa is expiring shortly. I am planning to apply for the 186 visa before my 457 expires. I will sit the IELTS before I lodge the 186 application but will only get the results after I lodge the application. Will there be a problem if I submit the results after the application is lodged even if I have sat the test before lodgement.
    Kind regards,


  4. Isha

    Hi Peng,

    I am working as a Quality manager in Healthcare sector.Can I apply for skill assessment under the Anzsco:139914 Quality Assurance Manager? No information is avilable even on vetassess site.


    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Isha,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.


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