Intergate Emigration. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: Intergate Emigration is not an agency of the Australian Government. Our licensed immigration agents have been registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority.  Our Immigration Licence Registration Number is 1467325. All our services comply with the Immigration Act of Australia and our services with the compiling of visa and permit applications and our relocation services are unavailable through government channels. The application forms used during the immigration process can also be collected free of charge at any Australian Government. Read our privacy policy here.

English Language Competency - A required test for general skilled migration

english language competencyOne of the requirements of general skilled migration is that the applicant must provide evidence of their English language competency.

There are as many as 20 points at stake, meaning this part of the points test is significant in your overall score.

How are points awarded for English language competency?

There are four levels:

  1. Functional. The requirement here is either an IELTS average score of 4.5 or evidence of studies in an English language. It is also the minimum requirement for secondary applicants.
  2. Competent. In this instance, you must achieve an IELTS average score of 6 or hold an approved passport. It is the minimum level of English language competency for any skilled migration visa but provides no points.
  3. Proficient. The requirement here is an IELTS average score of 7. This provides a score of 10 points.
  4. Superior. You English language competency will be qualified as 'superior' if you achiever an average score of IELTS score is an average of 8. This provides a score of 20 points.

How do I get my English language competency tested?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the most common test to validate your English language competency.

This test comprises four components:

  1. Reading.
  2. Writing.
  3. Listening.
  4. Speaking.

Generally an applicant must show a certain minimum score in each of the four components to meet the requirements for GSM (i.e. competent, vocational and proficient English).

If the score is less than the required number in any component, English language competency has not been sufficiently proven. In such a case, the applicant must re-sit all four components.

Other tests include the Occupational English Test (OET).

IELTS is the most common way to prove your English language competency. Call us now on +21 (0) 21 202 8200 to find out more.

Types of IELTS tests

There are two types of IELTS test available:

  • General Training; and
  • Academic.

The government makes no distinction between these two tests. Either of the tests can be used to satisfy the English language competency criteria for a GSM visa.

However, for skills assessments in some skilled occupations, applicants must sit for the Academic IELTS. Examples of such occupations are medical practitioners, nurses and teachers.

How long is the IELTS valid for?

You can use IELTS results dated up to three years before the date of application for GSM applications.

Can I improve my score by sitting the test even if I am a valid passport holder?

If you hold a passport from the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada or New Zealand, the IELTS testing requirement is waived in assessing threshold English.

However, this means you do not get any points for English. Therefore, should you want to get points for you English, you'll have to sit for the IELTS.

Timing of English testing

  • If you are applying for a subclass 489, 189 or 190 visa:

Secure your English language score before you receive an invitation to lodge a visa application. In a perfect world, it should happen at the same time as the Expression of Interest submission.

  • If you are applying for a subclass 476 or 485 visa:

You must secure the competent threshold level of English before you make the visa application.

What about secondary applicants?

Seconday applicants aged 18 or older must show functional English competency. This is thus an average score of 4.5 in IELTS or evidence of studies in English.

Dependents who have less than functional English must pay a second visa application charge (VAC), called the English Education Charge. This is currently charged at $4885.

MARN number

MARA Licensed Agents

Our immigration agent is licensed by MARA, giving you complete peace of mind during your migration.

Get your FREE initial assessment here


Get in touch

South Africa +27 (0) 21 202 8200

UK +44 (0) 2038 732150

Germany +49 (0) 40 889 15973

The first step in your immigration is finding out if you qualify to live and work in Australia. Book your assessment today.

Our latest blog posts

Read more +19 February 2018 By Immigration to Australia in News, Our latest posts

News: South Australia High Points Category quota notification

The South Australia Government today made two announcements regarding Supplementary Skilled List occupations and occupations on the State Nominated Occupations List which are listed as ‘Special Conditions Apply’: High Points Category quota: Immigration South Australia has received a high volume of applications for the High Points Category and will be monitoring applications received over the
emigrate to australiaRead more +08 February 2018 By Immigration to Australia in Immigration Advice, Our latest posts

The 7 most important things to do if you want to emigrate to Australia

If 2018 is the year you want to emigrate to Australia, then you’ve come to the right place to start your journey. We’re going to share the seven tasks that should be top of your to-do list: 1. Have an immigration eligibility assessment done To emigrate to Australia, you’ll need a visa to do so.
australian immigration changesRead more +07 February 2018 By Immigration to Australia in News, Our latest posts

Must-read: Australian immigration changes for January and February 2018

A number of Australian immigration changes that you should know about were made at the start of 2018. Specifically, changes to the list of eligible skilled occupations and South Australia’s High Points category. 1. Eligible skilled occupation changes On the 17th of January, the Australian Department of Home Affairs made official changes to occupations that