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Change to English language requirements for migrant workers

Potential sponsors of overseas skilled workers for temporary residence under the Employer Sponsored Temporary Business visa (subclass 457) need to be aware that their nominees are now required to have vocational English language skills.

This requirement was introduced on 1 July 2007. It has been implemented to help ensure that sponsored workers are able to respond to occupational health and safety risks; to raise any concerns about their welfare with appropriate authorities; and to benefit Australia by sharing their skills with other workers.  

Who must meet the new requirements?
All primary visa applicants must meet the English language requirement unless they have been nominated for a position that does not require English language for licensing or registration. There are exceptions that include any skilled worker:  

whose first language is English and who is a passport holder from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, or the United States of America; or
they are to be paid at least a salary specified in a legislative instrument (initially a gross salary of $75, 000 excluding all deductions) and the grant of the visa is in the interests of Australia; or
they have completed at least five years of continuous full time secondary and/or tertiary education where at least 80 percent of the instruction was conducted in English.
What is the new requirement?
Certain primary subclass 457 Visa applicants will be required to have proficiency in English equivalent to an average band score of 4.5 across the four test components in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

Applicants must meet a higher level of English proficiency where this is required for licensing or registration in their nominated occupation. Applicants will need to detail their English language skills on their visa application form. 

Notwithstanding the evidence submitted with an application, skilled workers may be asked to undertake an IELTS test to demonstrate their English language skills.  

What is IELTS?
IELTS 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. 

Printing Industries Skilled Migration Adviser, Peter Lovell, on 0434 077 584 or
peter@printnet.com.au