English language requirement changes for graduate visas

Publish Date: May 11, 2015

The government has recently made changes to the minimum English language test scores for two subclasses of visas for immigration to Australia.

Language requirements for the Skilled - Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) and Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visas have changed from 18 April 2015.

Previously applicants were required to provide evidence they had achieved a minimum test score of IELTS 6, or equivalent, in each of the component tests. Now they only need to provide the Department of Immigration and Border Protection with proof of their overall average score.

This overall average still needs to be IELTS 6 or equivalent and applicants cannot achieve lower than a 5 on any of the component tests of speaking, reading, listening and writing. 

There are currently a number of English language proficiency tests applicants for visas to Australia can submit. These include:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT)
  • Pearson test of English Academic  (PTE Academic)
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test, if taken on or after 1 January 2015

The applicant must have obtained the English test result within the three years before the date of their visa application.

People applying for the skilled graduate or temporary graduate visas are still required to meet the other requirements for the visa. 

Both graduate visas allow a person to live, work and study in Australia on a temporary basis. The skilled graduate visa is specifically for recent engineering graduates of recognised institutions under the age of 31 years, in order for them to gain up to 18 months of skilled work experience.

The temporary graduate visa is for anyone under the age of 50 years who has recently graduated from an Australian university with either an eligible qualification and skills that relate to a job on the skilled occupation list, list, or with an eligible education qualification if the person applied for and was granted their student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011.

Applicants who hold a valid passport from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States of America or the Republic of Ireland are deemed to automatically meet the English language requirement.

For more information about applying for graduate visas to Australia, contact an immigration lawyer.

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