The simplistic nature of the Australian sponsored 457 visa is one of the many things that attracts wannabe Aussies to this approach to moving down under. There are only a handful of qualifying criteria, however one of the key criteria is your ability to speak English.
Strange though it may seem for a country where there is such a high incidence of terms such as ‘Fair dinkum and G’day’ To qualify successfully for an Australian Sponsored 457 Visa, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate a good level of ‘Vocational English’. This will need to be confirmed via the completion of a test carried out with an agreed institution (more on this below).
English Language Testing for 457 Visas
Effective 18 April 2015, the English language requirements for the 457 visa were changed. From this date, an average band score for most of the tests is now required, as well as a minimum band score in each component.
These test ‘bands’ we reference cover English across 4 bands; listening, reading, writing and speaking. Previously, a higher minimum score in each band was required however the updated scores tend to allow greater flexibility for applicants. Tests are valid for up to 3 years for the purposes of 457 visa applications, and can be conducted after lodgement of the 457 visa application.
There are currently five institutions recognised for the purposes of English testing by the Australian government. Some are more specialised then others. The required scores for each is as follows:
- IELTS – International English Language Testing System: overall average score of 5, with a minimum score of at least 4.5 in each band
- OET – Occupational English Test: this is a test for medical and allied health professionals. A “B pass” is required for all 4 components of the OET
- TOEFL iBT: total band score of 36, with at least 3 in Listening and Reading and at least 12 in Speaking and Writing
- PTE Pearson Test of English (Academic): Average band score of 36, with minimum of 30 in each band
- CAE Cambridge English: Advanced: Average band score of 154, with minimum of 147 in each band.
IELTS tends to be the most popular testing system and you can readily identify a local testing via Google or a similar search engine. The employer offering Australian sponsorship should also be able to assist you in this space.
It’s worth noting that there are a number of scenarios that make you exempt from the English testing requirements. We’ll cover these below.
Exemptions to English testing 457 Visa
Firstly your nationality. If you hold a passport from Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States, you are exempted from the 457 English Language requirements. The logic being that as you hold a passport for these English speaking countries it’s probably a fair assumption that you’ll already be able to speak a reasonable level of vocational English.
Secondly. If you have completed at least 5 consecutive years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where the instruction was delivered in English you’ll also be exempt. You will however need to provide evidence of your attendance from the institution that you attended.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to be sponsored for a job in Australia paying a salary of more than $180,001 AUD. You’ll also be exempted. This figure doesn’t include any additional income derived from bonuses, benefits, pension contributions etc so keep this in mind.
Professions where registration, licence or membership is required in support of your 457 Visa application.
Whilst competing your paperwork, you might find that the Australian regulatory body for the profession/occupation you’re applying for may specify that you need to demonstrate a certain level of English language ability before you can obtain the registration, licence or membership that is required for you to work in your profession/occupation in Australia.
If the required level of English language ability is equivalent to more than at least a score 5.0 in each of the 4 test components for an IELTS examination, then you need to meet the higher level of English language ability that is set by the regulatory body.
You will need to provide evidence from the regulatory body which shows the level of English language ability that is set to obtain the required registration, licence or membership, and also evidence to show that you meet this. If a lower or if no level of English language ability is set by the regulatory body, and none of the above exemptions apply, then you still need to satisfy the English language requirement and complete an IELTS or OET examination.
So there we have it. In short, if your able to read, write, speak and understand English to a reasonable level you should be fine. The tests are a simple approach to formally confirming your abilities so try not to get to concerned about the approach.
To your success!Tags: 457 visa english English language requirements ielts toefl