English language test for Australian visas

Updated October 2020

The Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs accepts IELTS as proof of English language proficiency for all visa categories. In fact, IELTS is the only tests accepted by all immigration authorities of Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Canada. Check the updated October 2020 minimum English language requirements here.

For migration to Australia, you may need to show that you have an understanding of the English language. So, to prove this, the Department of Home Affairs can ask you to show that you’ve done an official language test, like IELTS. You may also have to show that in the 3 years before you apply you have gained the minimum scores needed for your visa.

When you migrate to Australia and are applying for a visa, you may come across different language proficiency levels. For example, there is functional English and vocational English. But also competent English, proficient English and even superior English. Each of these levels has a different IELTS score.


English language proficiency level
Test component
IELTS score
Functional English Overall score 4.5
Vocational English Listening 5
Reading 5
Writing 5
Speaking 5
Competent English Listening 6
Reading 6
Writing 6
Speaking 6
Proficient English Listening 7
Reading 7
Writing 7
Speaking 7
Superior English Listening 8
Reading 8
Writing 8
Speaking 8

Just remember, this is guide only. The IELTS score you require will depend on which visa you need when moving to Australia. Find out what IELTS score you need at the Department of Home Affairs. Before you book your IELTS test, we recommend that you check with your university, workplace or Australian Government in order to understand the level of skill you need to demonstrate, and which version of IELTS you need.


Book your IELTS test for migration

Boost your IELTS score

If you are aiming for bonus points in a points-tested Skilled visas, let us help you boost your score. IELTS offers more support than any other English language test. With these tools, you can get the score you need for your Australian visa.

It’s a big step to move to a new country. Thankfully, you’re not alone. We’ll help you with some background information about the types of visas are available and what Australia has to offer you.

Full list of Australian visas

If you are applying for an Australian work visa, a student visa, or Permanent Residency, chances are you need to show evidence of your English language skills. Because IELTS is the most respected language test in the world, we can help you demonstrate your English language proficiency for your Australian visa English test. Check the full list of Australian visas to see which one requires you to show English language proficiency.

Check what score you need for your visa

Full list of Australian visas

Visa category
Visa subclass
English test required
Working and skilled visas Business Innovation and Investment (permanent) visa (subclass 888) Yes
Business Innovation and Investment (provisional) visa (subclass 188) Yes
Business Owner (subclass 890)
Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132) Yes
Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 124) Yes
Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 858) Yes
Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Yes
Investor visa (subclass 891)
Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191)
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) Yes
Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 494) Yes
Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) Yes
Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) Yes
Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa (subclass 476) Yes
Skilled Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 489) Yes
Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887) Yes
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) Yes
State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa (subclass 892)
State or Territory Sponsored Investor visa (subclass 893)
Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) Yes
Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) Yes
Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403)
Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400)
Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) Yes
Visitor visas Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)
eVisitor (subclass 651)
Transit visa (subclass 771)
Visitor (subclass 600)
Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) Yes
Working Holiday visa (subclass 417)
Studying and training visas Student visa (subclass 500) Yes
Student Guardian visa (subclass 590)
Training visa (subclass 407) Yes
Family and partner visas Adoption visa (subclass 102)
Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 114)
Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 838)
Aged Parent visa (subclass 804)
Carer visa (subclass 836)
Carer visa (subclass 116)
Child visa (subclass 101)
Child visa (subclass 802)
Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 884)
Contributory Aged Parent visa (subclass 864)
Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173)
Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143)
Dependent Child visa (subclass 445)
New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (temporary) visa (subclass 461)
Orphan Relative (subclass 117)
Orphan Relative (subclass 837)
Parent visa (subclass 103)
Partner (Provisional and Migrant) visa (subclass 309 100)
Partner visa (subclass 820 801)
Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300)
Remaining Relative visa (subclass 115)
Remaining Relative visa (subclass 835)
Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 870)
Refugee and humanitarian visas Global Special Humanitarian (subclass 202)
Protection visa (subclass 866)
Refugee visas (subclass 200, 201, 203 and 204)
Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785)
Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790)
Other visas Bridging visa A – BVA – (subclass 010)
Bridging visa B – BVB – (subclass 020)
Bridging visa C – BVC – (subclass 030)
Bridging visa E – BVE – (subclass 050 and 051)
Crew Travel Authority visa (subclass 942)
Former Resident visa (subclass 151)
Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988)
Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602)
Resident Return visa (subclass 155 157)
Special Category visa (subclass 444)
Special Purpose visa
Investor Retirement visa (subclass 405)
Confirmatory (Residence) visa (subclass 808)

As the most respected English test in the world, IELTS offers more free practice tests and support material than any other test. It’s designed to help you succeed.

Available at 50 test centres in Australia, IELTS is the English language test that supports your Australian study, migration and career goals.


Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. If you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent. However, you can also get free advice for student visas.

Tips to claim points for superior English

Some Australian Permanent Resident (PR) visas are points-based. You can claim points if you have competent, proficient or superior English. Check our 5 tips to claim points for superior English.

Read our tips