IELTS score for Australia
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IELTS Score For Australia – A Definitive Guide

We have had several enquiries recently regarding the IELTS requirements for Australia or more specifically, the actual IELTS score for Australia that is required to qualify for your Australian visa.  To assist (or at least have an article we could point people to) we’ve created the below to help answer these questions.

IELTS Requirements For Australia

Firstly For those less familiar, IELTS is an acronym from the term International English Language Testing System and is one of the original Testing agencies utilised by the Australian government to verify Australian applicants English capabilities.

Understanding the IELTS requirements for Australia used to be a relatively straight forward process. However, like all good things, the Australian government choose to make things more complex and implemented a series of different English competency thresholds, with varying types of visa requiring different thresholds. ¯ \ _ (ツ) _ / ¯

Thankfully for most Visas either a Vocational or Competent level of English is necessary to enable you to qualify for an Australian visa. We’ve summarised the level of English competence required by Visa Type below for your general information.

Level of English Required by Visa Type

Visa Type Level of English
Student Visas It is not a mandatory requirement if the education provider accesses the student’s English language skills as satisfactory for their studies. However, the DIBP may request a test report to be presented.
Graduate Visa Competent
Most Skilled Migration Visas
189 Visa
190 Visa
You will need to show at least Competent English. Cambridge Advanced English test results will only be considered if the test was undertaken on or after 1 January 2015. A Cambridge Advanced English test conducted before 1 January 2015 will not be accepted.

IELTS has an academic test and a general training test. For visa application purpose the Department of Immigration and Border Protection accepts all English test forms listed above; however, the Assessing Authorities may require special English test form to meet the skills assessment requirements.

457/482 Visa Vocational/Competent
ENS Competent
RSMS Competent
Parent Visas Not required
Partner Visas Not required
Australian Permanent Residency and Citizenship for New Zealanders Not required

What about the IELTS Scores?

Se lets focus on the IELTS score requirements for Australia or the number of points you will require to meet a level classified as Vocational or Competent English.

Note, where we refer to ‘Each Band’ below, this means that you will need to obtain a minimum score in each component (band) of the IELTS test which currently consists of  4 bands; Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking.

Also worth noting that the IELTS test has to be completed in a single sitting. The total time for a sitting is 2 hours and 45 minutes with the timing for each being broken down as:

  • Listening (30 minutes)
  • Reading (60 minutes)
  • Writing (60 minutes)
  • Speaking (11–14 minutes)

IELTS Score For Australia

Vocational English

So to be recognised as having an IELTS band equivalent to Vocational English which is a requirement if you are applying for an employer-sponsored 482 Visa (used to be referred to as the 457 visas). You will need an IELTS score of at least 5 points for each of the 4 test components (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking) to meet the requirement of Vocational English.

IELTS score for Australia PR

Competent English

As mentioned above, Most skilled migration visas such as the 189 Visa or 190 Visa require that the applicant has IELTS band for Australia equivalent to “Competent English”.

These particular visa classes are often of the most interest to migrants looking to immigrate to Australia as attaining such a visa brings with it the excellent side benefit of Australian Permanent Residency (PR).

To be recognised as having Competent English, you will require an IELTS score of at least 6 points for each of the four components (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking)

What IELTS Score Will Give Me Extra Points?

Competent English is not the highest level of English recognised by the Australian Government.

From an IELTS perspective, if you score highly enough and achieve an IELTS Score higher than 6, you may qualify to be recognised as having what is classified as IELTS score for Australia P either Proficient or Superior English.

If you start hitting these high thresholds, you will be rewarded with extra points which you can then contribute towards your total points score.

If you have used an Australian points calculator and have identified that you may need some additional points to qualify for an Australian Visa, performing particularly strongly in your IELTS test may well give you the points you need to make a big difference in increasing your chances of obtaining an Australian Visa.

Let’s take a look at the IELTS requirements for Australia that will see you recognised as having either Proficient or Superior English. 

IELTS Score Required for Proficient English

If you are looking to score enough points in your IELTS examination to be recognised as having a Proficient level of English,  you will require an IELTS score of at least 7 for each of the 4 test components​. Having Proficient English will enable to qualify for an extra 10 points

IELTS Score Required for Superior English

If you are looking to achieve an exceptional IELTS score and gain enough points in your IELTS examination to be recognised as having a Superior level of English,  you will require an IELTS score of at least 8 for each of the 4 test components​.

Having Superior English will enable to qualify for an extra 20 points which for some candidates really can make all the difference.

IELTS Video Resources

If you need some assistance increasing your IELTS score for Australia, we have a heap of IELTS video resources available for you. Check out our IELTS preparation resources available here.

Do you still have questions?

If you’ve read our article covering the IELTS requirements for Australia and are still left with questions, please feel free to comment below, or for a quicker response, post in our forums and we’ll be happy to help.


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Written by Mark

As the founder of Getting Down Under, Mark is passionate about demystifying the process associated with a move to Australia. Having launched Getting Down Under in early January 2006 and made the move to Australia from the UK in the same year, Mark continues to share resources and support for those looking for assistance. If you have a question for Mark, please post in our Community Forums. Please note All information provided on Getting Down Under should be considered in conjunction with our disclaimer. Please seek professional advice if you have any doubts!

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