New Changes to the English Language Requirements

New Changes to the English Language Requirements

As part of the Australian Government’s Migration Strategy announced in December 2023, there are new and significant changes affecting the English language requirement for the Student and Temporary Graduate visa programs.  Although these changes may not be welcomed by some visa applicants, they are aimed to ensure effective and positive contribution to Australia by international students, either during their studies or post-graduation. 

Using the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as a guide, below is a comparative of the previous requirements and the new changes that have come into effect as of 23 March 2024

Visa Subclass Previous Requirement Current Requirement (as of 23 March 2024)
Subclass 500 Student visa Min. IELTS score of 5.5 (or its equivalent) Min. IELTS score of 6.0 (or its equivalent)



Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa


(non-HK/BNO passport holders)

Min. IELTS score of 6.0 (or its equivalent) Min. IELTS score of 6.5 (or its equivalent), with a min. score of 5.5 in each test component
Hong Kong or British National Overseas passport holders Exempt from the increased changes – min. IELTS score of 6.0 (or its equivalent), with a min. score of 5.0 in each test component
All Applicants English language test must have been undertaken within 3 years before the date of lodgement English language test must have been undertaken within 12 months immediately before the date of lodgement

Note: English Exemptions – There have been no changes to those who are exempt from providing further evidence of their English language proficiency, including if you are a citizen and hold a passport from the UK, USA, Canada, NZ, or the Republic of Ireland.  These applicants are not required to provide evidence of a recent English test. 

Tips to improve your English proficiency  

  • Start your preparations early – it may take a few tries before you achieve the necessary or desired English score. It is recommended that you don’t sit your first IELTS test the week before your visa expires
  • Familiarise yourself with the test format and understand question patterns for each test component
  • Utilise the practice exams available online
  • Speak with local natives to increase your confidence and become more comfortable with the Australian accent
  • Ask for help – there are many tutoring services available to provide specialised assistance

If you are concerned about how these changes may impact you, please contact us to make an appointment to discuss further.



At Agile Legal, we are a team of specialised immigration lawyers who have successfully assisted many organisations in sponsoring overseas talents to live and work in Australia.

As the migration process is complicated, please do not hesitate to contact us at for your immigration enquiries.

We are here to help.

Who are we?

Agile Legal Consulting is a boutique law firm in the heart of Melbourne CBD.  We support and assist our clients in all areas of law, with a specialisation in immigration law, commercial law, and property law. 

Led by our Accredited Immigration Law Specialist – Jensen Ma (LPN 5511737), together with a dedicated immigration law team with over 60 years of collective experience, we are passionate about providing our clients with comprehensive, client-focused solutions. 

Our multi-lingual lawyers offer assistance on a broad spectrum of immigration matters.  Come speak to us in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or Bahasa Melayu – we are always available to answer your questions.