Changing English Language Requirements for Student and Temporary Graduate Visas in Australia

Zhanna Heenan

Visa News

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has recently announced changes to the English language requirements for Student (sc 500) and Temporary Graduate (sc 485) visas, committed to making these changes effective from 23 March 2024. This is to ensure a higher level of English proficiency among visa holders, aligning with the evolving standards of education and employment in Australia.

How will the English requirements change for Student (sc 500) Visas?

1. The minimum test score for English proficiency will increase from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 5.5 to 6.0 (or equivalent).
2. The minimum score to undertake a packaged English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) course will increase from IELTS 4.5 to 5.0 (or equivalent). However, students enrolled in recognised university foundation or pathway programs providing reputable English language training will still require a score of IELTS 5.5 (or equivalent), with a list of recognised courses available on the Department’s website.
3. Students solely studying English through ELICOS courses will not experience any changes in the English language requirements.

How will the English requirements change for Temporary Graduate (sc 485) Visas?

1. The minimum score required will increase from IELTS 6.0 to 6.5 (or equivalent), with a minimum score of 5.5 for each component of the test (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).
2. Passport holders from Hong Kong and British National Overseas (BNO) are exempt from the increased English language requirement. Their minimum score remains at IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent), with a minimum score of 5.0 for each component of the test.
3. The validity window for English language tests for Temporary Graduate visa applications has decreased from three years to one year. Applicants must provide evidence of completing an English language test no more than one year before the visa application date.

It’s important to note that while these changes are set to commence on 23 March 2024, legislative instruments are yet to be released on the Federal Register of Legislation to formalize these adjustments. We advise you to monitor the News section on our website for an update on these changes.

For migrants planning to apply for Student or Temporary Graduate visas, understanding and preparing for these updated English language requirements is crucial. Book an appointment to consult with experienced migration agents at Heenan & Browne Visa and Migration Services to ensure your application meets the necessary standards and increases your chances of a successful visa outcome.



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