English Language Requirement – 186 ENS & 187 RSMS Visas

 

You and all adult dependents who are over 18 and are included in your Subclass 186 ENS or 187  RSMS visa application will need to satisfy the applicable English language requirement.

 

Primary applicant

 

The threshold English language requirement does vary depending on whether you are applying under the Direct Entry (“DE’) or Temporary Residency Transition (“TRT”) stream.

Under the TRT stream, you need to have ‘vocational’ English language ability. The English examination scores that you need to achieve for Vocational English are as follows: 

  Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 5 5 5 5
TOEFL iBT 4 4 14 14
PTE Academic 36 36 36 36
OET B B B B

 

Under the DE stream, you need to have ‘competent’ English language ability. The English examination scores that you need to achieve for Competent English are as follows: 

  Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 6 6 6 6
TOEFL iBT 12 13 21 18
PTE Academic 50 50 50 50
OET B B B B

 

The relevant English examination must be completed in the 3 year period prior to lodgement of the application. An examination result which is obtained after lodgement, or if the examination was completed before the 3 year period that precedes the lodgement of the application, then this examination result will not be accepted. Satisfying the English language requirement is a ‘time of application’ requirement.

Results from an Academic or General IELTS examination will be accepted.

The applicant needs to satisfy the minimum score for each of the test components. Your average score is not relevant. Also, you need to achieve the required result in one examination seating. You can’t accumulate the required scores in each test component over multiple examinations.

 

Exemption 1 – Holding a passport from an English speaking country

 

Anyone holding a passport from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand will satisfy the English language requirement. This exemption applies to both the TRT stream and the DE stream.

 

Exemption 2 (TRT stream only) – Completing 5 years of studying

 

As the primary applicant in a TRT visa application, you are exempted from having to demonstrate ‘vocational’ English if you’ve completed at least 5 years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where all of the tuition was delivered in English. You will need to obtain a letter from the relevant institution confirming that the instructing language of all your studies was English.

 

Exemption 3 – Earnings of $180,001 or more

 

If your guaranteed annual salary as confirmed in the 187 or 187 nomination application is above $180,001 (i.e. your salary puts you into Australia’s highest individual income tax bracket), then you are exempted from having to demonstrate ‘vocational’ or ‘competent’ English language ability. However, you still need to show that you have ‘functional’ English language ability (see below explanation).

 

Dependents who are over 18 – Functional English language ability

 

All adult dependents who are over 18 years of age will need to demonstrate ‘functional’ English language ability. This can be demonstrated in a number of ways:

  1. Complete all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education at educational institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or
  2. Complete at least 5 years of secondary education at institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or
  3. Achieve English examination results outlined below; or
  4. Complete in Australia at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma at an institution or institutions where all the instruction was conducted in English; or
  5. Hold an award (being a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate) that required at least 2 years of full-time study or training; and all instruction (including instruction received in other courses for which the person was allowed credit) for that award was conducted in English.

Required Scores to establish Functional English are as follows:

Test component Average test score
IELTS 4.5
TOEFL iBT 32
PTE Academic 30

 

As I mentioned above, all applicants will need to demonstrate that they have functional English language ability. If you’re exempted under either Exemption 1 or 2 above, then the basis of your exemption also demonstrate that you have ‘functional’ English.

If you’re relying on Exemption 3 (high salary), then you need to demonstrate that you have functional English language ability by providing evidence that demonstrates satisfaction of one of the above.

 

Secondary visa application charge (SVAC)

 

This needs to be paid if anyone in your application who does not satisfy the English language requirement that applies to them. However, as the primary applicant, you need to meet the English language requirement. If you do not meet the English language requirement – then one of the exemptions outlined above must apply to you. If one of the exemptions apply to you as the primary applicant, then you need to pay the SVAC if you also do not have ‘functional’ English language ability.

This fee is paid at the time of decision so your case officer will contact you at the time that the payment is required.

As the primary applicant, if you don’t have functional English language ability, then the SVAC is $8,520. For other adult dependents that can’t demonstrate functional English, the SVAC is $4,520.

 

How we can help

 

Please Contact Us if you require our assistance.

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Whether you need comprehensive assistance with an application, assistance and representation with a review application with the Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal or Administrative Appeals Tribunal, or just a one off consultation, we will provide you with the advice and service that you require.

 

Frequently asked questions

 

  1. Q: Are you sure that an IELTS or OET result is only valid for 3 years?
    A: For the purpose of a 186 or 187 visa application, yes
  2. Q: Are you sure that both Academic or General Training IELTS examinations are accepted?
    Yes
  3. 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
  4. Q: For an IELTS examination, if I have a high overall score, but did not achieve the specific requirement for some of the test components, will this be sufficient?
    No
  5. 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
  6. Q: I don’t 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 don’t satisfy any of the exemptions, then you need to complete an IELTS or OET examination
  7. 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)
  8. Q: I am the primary applicant but I do not satisfy the relevant English requirement. Can I pay the SVAC instead?
    A: No – as the primary applicant, you need to meet the English language requirement. If you do not meet the English language requirement – then one of the exemptions outlined above must apply to you

547 thoughts on “English Language Requirement – 186 ENS & 187 RSMS Visas

  1. Nathan Floriano De Alm

    HI!

    I have an associate degree from my country in IT Management and I’m currently studying a diploma in Australia of IT Networking.

    Also I’m working as an Intern in an IT company in WA and the company asked me if I’m ready to apply for any kind of visa which gives me rights to work full-time.

    I guess I can apply for this visa 187.

    What steps do I need to follow?

    I hold a student visa at moment.
    I’m confuse if I need to validate my diploma from my country on ACS Website, if I need to proof my work experiences and if I apply to that visa I will not be able to keep studying my Diploma.

    Thanks,
    Nathan.

    Reply
  2. Matthew

    Hi Penguin,

    I’m about to book an IELTS test, but I am unsure if I need to book a general or academic test (the above mentions that either are accepted). Just want to understand what the difference is between the two? I’m applying for a 186 DE

    Thanks
    Matt

    Reply
  3. Darren

    Peng,

    I’m aware the primary applicant must meet the English requirement at the time of application, does the same rule apply to secondary applicants? I’m trying to establish if we can upload a successful IELTS result after the initial lodgement.

    Thanks for all your replies so far

    Cheers,
    Darren

    Reply
  4. Gary

    Hello Peng,

    Very nice blog I must say!

    I would like to apply ENS186 PR Visa and seems like I can get away from English test as I have completed 3 years full time studies in Diploma
    and 3 years in Bachelor Degree. Both from higher education that was delivered in English.

    In the transcript, it shows that I have studied from July 2001 – June 2004 (Diploma) and the second studies was from November 2009 – October 2011 (Degree). University often mention 2 years course or 3 years course study, but it does not mean students will study for the exact 24months or 36. My concern here is, how does duration of 5 years requirement is actually count?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Gary,
      I don’t think I understand your question – please see above post:
      Exemption 2 (TRT stream only) – Completing 5 years of studying

      As the primary applicant in a TRT visa application, you are exempted from having to demonstrate ‘vocational’ English if you’ve completed at least 5 years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where all of the tuition was delivered in English. You will need to obtain a letter from the relevant institution confirming that the instructing language of all your studies was English.

      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.
      PC

      Reply
  5. Sanjoy

    Hi Peng,as per changes from The immigration from July 1st re English requirement for DE and TRT,will be the same ?(i mean 6 in each component )or TRT will require vocational English only? as before.
    Would appreciate your response?
    Thanks
    Sanjoy

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Sanjoy,
      The government has indicated that from 1 July 2017, the English requirement for both streams will be the same – Competent English will be required.
      PC

      Reply
  6. SHEHZAD HUSSAIN

    HI,
    I have got my 457 Visa in August 2015 and now i am eligible to apply for PR in August 2017. I have a family (My wife and kid) here and they holding the same because i am the main applicant.
    My question is, to apply for PR in Australia is it necessary for my wife to attempt the IETLTS or PTE Exam?? if yes, how much she needs to score?? In case if she is not able to attempt the IETLTS or PTE test what would we have to do and as an main applicant how much do i need to score in PTE?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Shehzad,
      Please see above post for English requirement for dependent applicants.
      PC

      Reply
  7. TAMANA ZEMARYALAI

    Hi,
    I wonder if you can answer this question for me. If I have scored 7 in reading, listening and speaking in IELTS and 6.5 in writing. Then had a score of > 65 in writing in PTE but <65 in some other areas. Would I be able to submit these together and claim proficient English.

    Reply
  8. Raul

    Hi!
    I am just about to apply to 187 visa Direct Stream, but my partner still needs to take the IELTS test. We are 100% sure she will get the needed score. The question is: Can I lodge an application without her IELTS and once she get it, update my application? Is that possible? or Can I apply just me and once she gets the IELTS results, add her in my application?. All this considering that they take 10-13 months to grant the visa.

    Thanks for your assistance,

    Best regards,

    Raul Manriquez

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Raul,
      You can provide the English result after lodgement for dependent applicants.
      PC

      Reply

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