Important IMMEDIATE changes to English Language Requirements for Subclass 500 (Student Visas)

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Published: 25 March 2024
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Are you ready to lodge your subclass 500 visa? Read this first! 

On 23 March 2024, The Department of Home Affairs changed the English requirement for 500 visas.

What has changed? 

English level has increased: The minimum score required has increased to:

  • IELTS: overall 6.0

  • PTE: overall of 50

  • OET: B in each

  • TOEFL: overall of 64

  • CAE: overall 169

Your English test should be no less than 2 years old (no change here)

Do you need to provide a test if you study English before higher study in Australia? 

Yes. However, a lower score is required if you studied ELICOS/ or a Foundation Year in Australia 

10 weeks ELICOS/Foundation year:

  • IELTS: overall 5.5

  • PTE: overall of 42

  • OET: B in each

  • TOEFL: overall of 46

  • CAE: overall 162

20 weeks ELICOS study: 

  • IELTS: overall 5.0

  • PTE: overall of 36

  • OET: B in each

  • TOEFL: overall of 34

  • CAE: overall 154

Are there any exceptions to this English requirement?  

Yes, There are many exemptions to the English test!

You are exempt if you hold a passport from: 

  • Canada

  • New Zealand

  • Republic of Ireland 

  • United Kingdom

  • United States of America  

If you hold one of the five English-speaking passports you can provide evidence of your passport in lieu of an English test for the subclass 500 visa.

You are exempt if you are enrolled in one of the following courses for your student visa:

  • Study in a language other than English

  • ELICOS course

  • A registered school course (primary or secondary) 

  • A registered postgraduate research course 

You are exempt if you

  • Are a foreign affairs, defence or secondary exchange student 

  • Completed high school in Australia, while studying in English in the 2 years before applying 

  • Completed most of your Certificate level IV or above study in English and Australia on a student visa 

  • Completed at least 5 years of study in English in one of the following countries. 

    – Australia 

    – Canada

    – New Zealand

    – South Africa 

    – Republic of Ireland 

    – United Kingdom

    – United States of America  

I’ve just lodged my 500 visa application. Do I need to do anything? 

  • If you lodged your visa before 23 March 2024. No, the changes occurred on this date.

  • If you lodged your visa after 23 March and your English was incorrect, you may still be able to provide the English after you lodge, if you do not meet one of the exemptions, please see advise urgently.

  • If you are about to lodge and you do not have the English level required, book an English test straight away and seek advice straight away.

More changes to come: 

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Need help or advice? 

If you have questions or need further clarification about these changes, consult one of our Registered Migration Agents at