457 & TSS English Language Requirements

457 & TSS English Language Requirements

With the drastic changes to the skilled work visa program announced, you might have been left wondering what the changes are to the English requirements are for the 457, and the system set to replace them in March 2018: the Temporary Skills Shortages (TSS) visa.

Here, we explain exactly what the English requirements are for both systems.

457 Visa English Requirements (until July):

Under the 457, all applicants must undergo English language testing. The minimum English language requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: overall average score of 5, with a minimum score of at least 4.5 in each band; or
  • PTE: average band score of 36, with a minimum score of 30 in each band; or
  • OET (for medical and allied health professionals): a “B pass” for all 4 requirements; or
  • TOEFL iBT: total band score of 36, with a score of at least 3 in Listening and Reading, and a score of at least 12 in Speaking and Writing; or
  • CAE: average band score of 154, with a score of at least 147 in each band.

The results of these tests are valid for up to 3 years for your 457 application. They can also be conducted after you have lodged your application.

Exceptions to the need for a formal English test are made if:

  • You hold a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand; or
  • You have completed 5 years of education at a secondary or tertiary level in English, and have a signed letter on your Institution’s letterhead to this effect; or
  • You are to be paid over the English Language Skills Exemption Threshold (ELSET) (which is $96,400).

The 457 From July

The English Language Skills Exemption Threshold (ELSET) will be removed from 1 July 2017, so applicants can no longer rely on salaries above $96.4k as a reason not to demonstrate a sufficient level of English.

TSS Visa – March 2018

The English requirements are currently set to remain at a 5 average (with a minimum score of 4.5) for IELTS.

The ELSET exemption will remain.


The 457 remains in effect up until it’s replacement by the TSS visa in March 2018. With many requirements getting tightened you should carefully consider getting your sponsored visa application in now to avoid being bound by the new scheme.

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