Skip to main content

The Australian immigration system accepts a number of different internationally accepted English testing systems to measure and rank applicants overall English ability. There are multiple testing systems used across the globe and the Australia immigration department currently accept five of these metrics, being; IELTS, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic, CAE and OET. If you are thinking that I have listed five words that are in any language but English, don’t be disheartened, read on to learn what each of them actually means. Choosing a testing system can be daunting for some, often resulting in the following question being asked, “What English test should I use for Australian immigration?”.

English Tests for Australian Immigration


The international English language testing system (IELTS) is one of the most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with millions of tests taken every year. IELTS evaluates all of your English skills — reading, writing, listening and speaking, and is intended to reflect how you will use English at study, at work, and at play, in your new life in Australia. The IELTS test must be taken at a designated testing centre (located all across the globe) in person. IELTS results are released 13 days after the test date.


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the other big player on the international English assessment scene along with IELTS. TOEFL traditionally has been used for many international students wishing to apply to English speaking universities around the world. However, the Australian immigration department also recognise this system. The TOEFL internet based test (iBT) is used for Australian immigration and can be taken at registered TOEFL iBT providers all over the world. Generally, the test results are released in 10 days.

PTE Academic

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is a computer based English assessment commonly used by international students and migration applicants. The test is multi levelled and grades students on reading, writing, listening and speaking. The PTE Academic test can be taken in most major capital cities and the results are generally released within five days of completing the assessment.


The Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test assesses candidates reading, writing, listening and speaking ability in testing centres across over 130 countries, either face to face or through a digital platform. This test is great for people who communicate confidently in English for work and study purposes. There are currently 29 test centres in Australia and the results are released 2-6 weeks after the test day.



Occupational English Test (OET) is an international English test that focuses on the language and communication ability of mainly healthcare workers, however the Australian immigration department also accept this test for migration purposes. OET provides a valid and reliable assessment of all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – with an emphasis on communication in health professional settings.

What English Test is best for immigration to Australia?

The answer to this question really depends on your current personal situation and history. For example, if you are short for time and need to get the results ASAP, then the PTE (five day turn around) is a better option than the CAE (up to six weeks). Also, if you feel more comfortable using a computer/digital system, then the PTE may also provide an advantage. If you are working in the health industry, then a natural choice would be the OET option. If you are comfortable in a more practical and face to face English setting, then the IELTS and TOEFL may be strong choices. Also, IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular tests worldwide and have the broadest selection of locations. If in doubt, contact the gurus today and we can advise your best option.