New 457 English Requirements

Following our previous article on Changes to the 457 Program, we are glad to announce that new 457 English language requirements came into effect from 18 April 2015.
Legislative Instrument IMMI15/028 now sets out the following scores for the purposes of demonstrating the requisite English language levels:

English test Minimum band score Minimum scores for English test components
Listening Reading Speaking Writing
IELTS test Overall band score 5.0 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5
TOEFL iBT Total band score 36 3 3 12 12
PTE Overall band score 36 30 30 30 30
CAE Overall band score 154 147 147 147 147

This is a welcome change to pre-existing arrangements, particularly for certain nominees in trade-related occupations where arguably, the higher language requirement of 5.0 in each IELTS category was more than what was necessary for a qualified tradesperson to discharge their duties.

The base of test systems has also expanded to include the Occupational English Test (OET), Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT), the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) and the Cambridge English Advanced Test (CAE).

Agents are likely to continue to think in terms of, and process through, the IELTS matrix for some time until the other tests gain some traction within the market.

Of course, agents (and applicants) should be mindful that attaining the specified English test scores should not be the only way of meeting the English language requirement (provided the nominated occupation does not require special licensing or registration which in itself may require the applicant to attain a certain test score to be so licensed or registered). The requirement may also be met by:

  • the applicant’s holding the prescribed passport (i.e. United Kingdom, USA, Canada, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland passports);
  • the applicant’s having completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where the instruction was delivered in English;
  • the applicant’s being paid a base salary of at least $96,400 in certain circumstances.

If you need assistance in relation to 457 sponsorships or visas, please email Lester Ong (MARN 0427625) or call 08 9426 6222.