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On 11 December 2023, the Australian Government announced that from early 2024, English language testing requirements for student visa English language requirements will increase from 5.5 to 6.0 and the minimum temporary graduate visa will increase from 6.0 to 6.5

Here is an overview of the English language requirement changes: 

  • Temporary Graduate visa will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 6.0 to 6.5 

  • Student visa will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5 to 6.0

  • ELICOS will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 4.5 to 5.0

  • University foundation or pathway programs that deliver English language training will be an IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5  

Visa Subclass 

Visa Type 

Current IELTS Requirement

New IELTS requirement 

Is One Skill Retake approved? 

Subclass 500

Student Visa 

5.5

6

Yes

Subclass 485

Temporary Graduate Visa

6.0

6.5

No

The Australian Government is aiming to establish a clear pathway for temporary visa holders, decrease the number of non-genuine students, and ensure that international students contribute to addressing Australia's skills shortages.  Link to the full report here.  

“Get prepared, sit your IELTS test if you need a higher score and submit your application early." Alice Guan (MARN 1909953) IDP’s registered Migration Agent

Which IELTS test is best for me? 

The test you choose should be based on what it is you want to do. The IELTS Academic test is usually for entry into university. IELTS General Training is used for migration purposes as it uses everyday English.

The Australian government accepts both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training for visa purposes. The organisation where you plan to work, or study sets the requirements. So, before you book your test, it is good to check which one is right for you.

Book IELTS for Migration

How can I improve my band score by 0.5? 

If getting a higher band score is a concern with the new requirements, we can support you in multiple ways to help you improve your English language skills before you take the IELTS test. Identify where you need to improve and what actions you need to take to prepare. Here are some key steps: 

  1. Familiarise yourself with the test by using our free IELTS practice tests   

  2. Understand how band scores are calculated so you can improve your score 

  3. Check if you’re eligible for IELTS One Skill Retake to re-sit a section of the test.

  4. Access IELTS study materials developed by experts to guide your learning 

  5. Incorporate English in your everyday life through speaking, writing, listening, and reading 

Access the IELTS preparation guide

What is IELTS One Skill Retake?    

To help you feel confident going into your IELTS test, we’ve developed IELTS One Skill Retake . You can now retake any one component of the test; Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking without redoing all four sections.

IELTS One Skill Retake is accepted for most Australian visas including the 500 Student Visa. One Skill Retake offers reassurance if you don't achieve your desired band score in a specific component. For instance, if you score 5 in Speaking but get a 6.0 in the other sections, you can retake the Speaking section to improve your score. 

IELTS One Skill Retake is accepted* by universities, professional bodies and the Australian Department of Home Affairs for most visa subclasses. Click here to find out which organisations accept your IELTS One Skill Retake test scores. 

 How to book IELTS One Skill Retake

Comparison of English language tests: 

Academic Test Comparison Chart

Equivalency Comparison:

Government Description 

IELTS Minimum Score Required  

PTE Minimum Score Required PTE 

OET 

Functional 

5.0 

36 

N/A 

5.5

Not announced

Not announced

Competent 

6.0 

50 

6.5

Not announced

Not announced

Proficient 

7.0 

65 

Superior  

8.0 

79 

Reference: Department of Home Affairs

Key differences between IELTS and PTE

  • One of the biggest differences is that you can do IELTS on computer as well as on paper. PTE-A is only available on a computer. 

  • IELTS is the only major test to offer One Skill Retake . You can now retake any component of the test, Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking. It's perfect if you want to improve in one area instead of redoing a full test. With PTE, you need to book, pay, and sit a full test again. 

  • Both IELTS and PTE offer an Academic test. IELTS also offers a General Training test which uses everyday language for migration in Australia. 

  • IELTS is accepted by all immigration departments that require an English Language test, including Australia, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. 

  • IELTS is accepted globally by more than 12,000 organisations, including universities, professional bodies, employers, and Australian student visa and migration applications. PTE is also accepted for study applications by thousands of academic programs globally and is approved for all Australian student visa and migration applications. 

  • PTE made changes to the way their scores are linked to IELTS. You can read what this means for you

  • With IELTS, you do a speaking test face-to-face with a real human which is not the case with PTE.

IELTS on computer vs. PTE-A

Get expert migration and study advice

Most universities and academic institutions have different requirements when it comes to IELTS scores and enrollment. The best way to find out about the requirements for the course you’re interested in is to contact the course provider directly.

You can also get in touch with an education counsellor as they have access to information from multiple education providers. If you require assistance with Australian immigration or visa applications, seek expert migration guidance from IDP's team of multilingual migration agents.

Australia's Migration Strategy Explained by IDP experts

Find out all that you need to know about Australian visas and the IELTS band scores you need for migration.