General English Requirement For Spouse Visa Applicant

Immigration agents receive many requests for application of spouse visa. These applicants are required to meet the minimum criteria of IELTS (score of 5.5) or equivalent in each band, or an overall score of 7, unless they are exempt for one of the following reasons
  • They have completed secondary education in Australia for at least four years
  • They have completed secondary education in a majority English-speaking country for four years.

A majority English-speaking country is defined as meeting any following criteria.
  • The Applicant has spent all their secondary school years up to the completion of high school living in only one country where English is the language most commonly spoken, and the Australian government has declared that as a majority English speaking country
  • The Applicant has spent at least five years studying full-time in only one country where English is the most common language, and the Australian government has declared that as a majority English speaking country
  • They have passed an approved test of General English (IELTS is the only acceptable test for this purpose).
  • They have completed secondary education in Australia or a majority English speaking country plus they also meet the minimum IELTS score of 5.5 in each band with no individual band lower than 5.0.
  • Applicant holds an academic qualification from an Australian educational institution recognised by DIAC, which was taught in English at both primary and secondary level for its duration, and have earned a final year secondary school qualification for that program -or-
  • Applicant holds an academic qualification from a majority English speaking country recognised by DIAC, which was taught in English at both primary and secondary level for its duration, and have earned a final year secondary school qualification for that program.
Exemptions from IELTS

Any applicant who is unable to meet the above requirement due to exceptional circumstances can be considered under two categories

1) Special Entry Access Schemes (SEAS)

2) Alternative Accommodation arrangements (AAA). SEAS applicants will be required to hold an approved test of General English (IELTS is the only acceptable test for this purpose). Applicants who are granted SEAS will be necessary to enrol in a full-time English Language course upon arrival in Australia and pass the IELTS test again after completing the language course.

Applicants applying under AAA arrangements must meet the criteria of one of the two following people.

1) The Applicant has a spouse, de facto partner or parent living in Australia on a permanent or long term basis (this person is not required to speak English at all times); or

2) The Applicant holds an Australian citizenship certificate from DIAC stating that they can understand and speak English at least at a basic level. In both cases, the partner's family language ability should be sufficient for them to communicate with each other about day-to-day matters.

Additional information
  • The English language requirement does not apply to applicants who are under 16 years of age or hold an AVATAR score of Tertiary English (or higher) through any Australian State/Territory government examinations (such as Victorian Certificate of Education, South Australian Matriculation, Western Australian Certificate of Education etc.).
  • IELTS scores older than two years will not be accepted.
  • Applicants with citizenship in an English speaking country do not require proof of good English - however, they should declare this during the application process.
Topic revision: r1 - 07 Apr 2022, AnnyDavid
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