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English requirements for 186 visa


The 186 visa lets skilled workers, who are nominated by their employer, live and work in Australia permanently.

One of the criteria of 186 visa is that the applicant must meet the English requirements for the stream they apply under. The question that we often come across is what are the English requirements for my 186 Direct Entry or Transition stream visa.

In this article, we will explore these requirements based on the 186 visa stream you are applying under. The 186 visa has 3 streams:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) Direct Entry stream
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Labour agreement stream

186 visa English requirements- Direct Entry stream

You must have at least competent English to be granted this stream of the visa.

To prove you have competent English, provide evidence:

    • that you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom*, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland, with your application. *British National (Overseas) passports are not acceptable as evidence of competent English.
    • or
    • you have an obtained one of the following English language test results:
Specified test results
Test Required score
International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic or General Training​) At least 6 for each of the 4 components
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) At least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) At least 50 for each of the 4 components
Occupational English Test (OET) At least B for each of the 4 components
Cambridge C1 Advanced test At least 169 in each of the 4 components
When to provide proof

When you must have taken your test and how long the test result is valid

Subclass Applicant When to provide Validity
Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Main/primary By time of application Test cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of application
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) – Temporary Residence Transition Stream Main/primary By time of application Test cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of application
Business Innovation and Investment (provisional) subclass 188) (Entrepreneur stream) Main/primary By time of invitation Test cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation
Skilled Independent (subclass 189)(Points tested stream) Main/primary By time of invitation Test cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation
Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) Main/primary By time of invitation Test cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation
Skilled Regional (provisional) (subclass 489)(first provisional stream) Main/primary By time of invitation Test cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation
​Skilled Work Regional (provisional) (subclass 491) ​Main/primary ​By time of invitation ​Test cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation
​Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (subclass 494) ​Main/Primary ​By time of application ​The test cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of application

For the subclasses 189, 190, 489 and 491​ if you are claiming partner points then your partner must also have Competent English at time of invitation.​



186 visa English requirements Temporary Residence Transition stream

You must have at least Competent English as above.

From 16 November 2019, there is no exemption to the English language requirement for this stream of the visa.

See more about exemptions in the relevant:

English language requirement and exemption for 186 TRT

You must demonstrate that you have the required English language proficiency for the visa and stream that you are applying for unless you are exempt.

For the Temporary Residence Transition or Direct Entry streams, applicants are required to have at least competent English.

As a result, you must provide evidence of having achieved the required minimum test scores in a specified English language test that has been conducted within three years immediately prior to the date of your application unless you hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland as evidence that you are a citizen of that country.

186 visa Engish requirements Labour agreement stream

Applicants for the Labour Agreement Stream must demonstrate that they have English language skills that are suitable to perform the occupation to which the position relates. This will be the same level of English as for the other visa streams outlined above, unless otherwise specified in the labour agreement.

187 visa

187 visa English: If you are applying for the 187 RSMS Visa through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and have completed at least five years of full-time study in secondary or higher education where the medium of instruction was delivered in English. You must hold a Diploma or above to be eligible for this exemption.



The applicant needs to satisfy the minimum score for each of the test components. Your average score is not relevant. You need to achieve the required result in one examination seating. You can’t accumulate the required scores in each test component over multiple examinations. Both Academic ad General Training IELTS examinations are accepted.

Include family

You can:

  • include family members in your application when you apply
  • add family members to your application after you apply but before we decide on your visa

For this visa, your family members are:

  • your partner
  • your dependent child or stepchild
  • your partner’s dependent child or stepchild
  • the dependent child or stepchild of your or your partner’s dependent child or stepchild

You can also include someone who holds a subclass 457 visa or subclass 482 visa if we granted them that visa on the basis they are a member of your family.

Second instalment

You will need to pay an extra charge called a second instalment for any family member aged 18 years or older who:

The second instalment for family members who apply for the visa with you is AUD4,890.

If you need to pay the second instalment for a family member, we will send you an invoice after you have met all other requirements for the visa.

To prove you have functional English, show evidence that:

    • you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom*, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland. *British National (Overseas) passports are not acceptable as evidence of functional English.
    • or
    • ​you completed a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate in an institution in or outside Australia that required at least two years of full-time study and all instructions were in Englishor
    • you undertook your education at:
      Institution Study time
      a primary school and secondary school where all instruction was in English in or outside Australia All years of primary and at least 3 years of secondary study
      a secondary school in or outside Australia where all instruction was in English At least 5 years of study
      an institution in Australia where all instruction was in English At least 1 year of full-time study towards an award
      an institution in Australia where all instruction was in English The part-time equivalent of 1 year of full-time study towards an award
    • or

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The post English requirements for 186 visa appeared first on Australian Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers Melbourne | VisaEnvoy.

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