English skills requirements
|Functional||Average/total/overall across test components only||4.5||32||30||147||n/a|
(for points tested Skilled visas)
(for points tested Skilled visas)
The TOEFL iBT is taken via the internet. There are more than 50 test dates each year, and there is a wide range of test locations throughout the world.
The test takes approximately 4.5 hours to complete has the following structure:
- Reading: 60-80 Minutes
- Listening: 120-180 Minutes
- Speaking: 20 Minutes
- Writing: 50 Minutes
TOEFL scores are available approximately 10 days after the test date. They can be viewed online, and a hard copy is sent approximately 13 days after the test date. You can specify recipients for your scores to be sent to via an online facility, but this cannot be changed after you have taken the test.
The current cost to undertake the TOEFL iBT in Australia is $240, well under the current cost of IELTS ($330).
The Pearson Test of English Academic is structured as follows:
- Speaking and writing: 77 – 93 minutes
- Reading: 32 – 41 minutes
- Listening: 45 – 57 minutes
Overall, the test takes 3 hours. Results are available within 5 working days, and can be accessed by logging into an online account. It is possible to forward results to institutions via the online account also. This compares favourably with IELTS – results currently take 2 weeks to become available, and there is no online account facility for test takers.
The cost to do the PTE Academic test in Australia is $330 – exactly the same as IELTS. Locations and test dates are less extensive than the TOEFL.
Various Levels of English are Relevant for visa purposes:
- Functional English
This is the level required for applicants for permanent and provisional skilled visas who wish to avoid paying the English Language Charge (currently $4,850.00).
Required Scores to establish Functional English are as follows:
|Test component||Average across test components only|
- Vocational English
Vocational English is the required level to obtain a 457 visa, and also ENS and RSMS visa through the Temporary Residence Transitional stream for people who have held a 457 visa for 2 years with the employer.
Required scores to establish Vocational English are as follows:
- Competent English
Competent English is the minimum (threshold) score for people applying for General Skilled Migration. It is also the score required for people applying for ENS and RSMS visas through the Direct Entry Stream.
Scores required to show Competent English are as follows:
- Proficient English
Proficient English applies only to Points Tested General Skilled visas, and is the required score to obtain 10 points for English.
Scores required for Proficient English are:
- Superior English
Superior English is to obtain the maximum score of 20 in the Skilled Migration Points Test.
Minimum scores for Superior English are:
Visa applicants who have already undertaken or intend to undertake either the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) or the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) need to be aware that the department cannot accept results from these tests for a visa application until November 2014 (date to be confirmed on the department’s website later this year). However, from implementation in November, an applicant can provide either a TOEFL iBT or PTE Academic score from a test taken:
- to meet competent English requirements: in the three years immediately before they lodged their application (or were invited to apply in the case of points-tested skilled visas); or
- to meet functional English requirements: no more than 12 months before lodging their application (for functional English).
Applicants for these visa programmes who wish to provide scores from the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test must also demonstrate that the test results were achieved in a test conducted on or after 1 January 2015, as this is the earliest that providers of that test will implement a new scoring system suitable for Australian visa applicants.
Those tests are acceptable for the purposes of a student visa application. However applicants need to be aware that many Australian universities require overseas students to provide the results of an Academic module of the IELTS for the purposes of their enrollment:
- IELTS – both Academic and the General modules
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – TOEFL internet-Based test (TOEFL iBT)
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) (also known as Certificate in Advanced English)* and
- Occupational English Test.