Changes to the Subclass 457 Visa Program – English Language Requirements
On this page
- English language proficiency requirements
- Why was the requirement introduced?
- What is IELTS?
- 14 September 2009 - changes to the English language proficiency requirements
- English for Registration/Licensing/Membership
- Who must meet the requirement?
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the English language changes
The English language proficiency requirements were introduced to the Subclass 457 visa program on 1 July 2007. They require applicants for Subclass 457 visas to demonstrate certain levels of English language proficiency before the visa may be granted.
The English language proficiency requirement will help to ensure overseas workers are able to respond to occupational health and safety risks, raise any concerns about their welfare with appropriate authorities and benefit Australia by sharing their skills with other workers.
IELTS, which stands for International English Language Testing System, is a test designed to assess an applicant’s English language ability. It has an academic test and a general training test – applicants only need to take the general training test unless advised otherwise by a registration or licensing body.
IELTS examinations are available worldwide.
Information on fees, available test dates and application forms are available
on the IELTS website.
See: International English Language Testing System
There are some changes to the English language proficiency requirements for Subclass 457 visa which came into effect on 14 September 2009.
All primary Subclass 457 visa applicants who are sponsored by a Standard Business Sponsor must demonstrate that they have English language proficiency that is equivalent to an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test score of at least 5 in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening. Prior to 14 September 2009, applicants required an average test score of at least 5 across the four test components.
Where the nominated occupation requires a higher level of English (equivalent to IELTS test score of more than 5 in each of the four test components) because it forms part of that occupation’s registration, licensing or membership requirement, the visa applicant must have at least the standard of English language proficiency required for the grant of that registration, licence or membership.
This requirement affects all subclass 457 visa applications decided on or after 14 September 2009.
A higher level of English is required for certain occupations where it forms part of registration/licensing or membership. You can find out if your occupation requires a higher level of English by contacting the assessing authority for your nominated occupation. Contact details for assessing bodies and skills recognition are available on the Department’s website.
See: Australian skills recognition information (ASRI)
If your nominated occupation requires a higher level of English (equivalent to IELTS test score of more than 5 in each of the four test components) because it forms part of that occupation’s registration, licensing or membership requirement, the visa applicant must have at least the standard of English language proficiency required for the grant of that registration, licence or membership.
All primary applicants must meet the English language requirement for visa grant unless they fall into one of the categories of exempted persons, and where English language proficiency is not required for registration or licensing purposes.
Exemptions are based on:
- Country of Citizenship
- Nominated occupation
- Salary level
- Secondary and/or Higher Education studies.
There is a list on ComLaw of English language exemptions (IMMI 11/042). Please
check this list to determine if you are exempt.
See: Level of Salary and Exemptions to the English Language Requirement for Subclass 457 (Business (Long Stay)) Visas - June 2011
Answers to commonly asked questions about the new English language requirements.
See: Frequently Asked Questions about English Language Requirements