The English Requirement - Functional English

You can show you have Functional English via any one of the following ways:

Your Passport

If you are a passport holder from the UK, Ireland, US, New Zealand or Canada, provision of these passport details will be sufficient.

Your Schooling in English

If you have completed certain education where all tuition was delivered in English, this may meet the English requirement. The ways you can show this are:

  • 1
    Completing all years of primary school education and at least three years of secondary education at a school where all instruction was in English.
  • 2
    Completing at least five years of secondary school education at a school or college where all instruction was in English.
  • 3
    Completing one year of full time study (or equivalent part time study) towards a degree (or higher), associate diploma or diploma at a college or university where all instruction was in English.

You must provide evidence of this, and the evidence must show:

  • The exact dates of the study; AND
  • Explicitly state English was the primary language of delivery for all tuition other than language classes.

This evidence is required even if you believe it may be obvious. For instance, a Japanese passport holder needed to provide additional written evidence to show instruction for her schooling was in English, even though her schooling was in New Zealand!

Generally a letter from the school or college will be sufficient, provided it includes all the required information.

Sitting An Approved Test

If you cannot show either of the above, you will need to sit an approved English test.

You must sit the test within the 12 months leading up to the lodgment of the application. The approved tests and required scores are outlined below:

Ariel Brott







IELTS (International English Language Test System)

Overall band score of 4.5

TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

Overall band score of 32

PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English)

Overall band score of 30

CAE Test (Cambridge: Advanced English)

Overall band score of 147

Our many years of experience means we understand how the Department of Immigration, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and other decision-makers analyse applications; we understand where they exercise discretions and where they will not. We know which strategies work and which don’t. We know which information to provide, and which to ignore.

We also have access to resources and information outside the reach of the general public. As such, we know the difference between the law and what DIBP says is the law. When DIBP puts out a statement on their website, we know what they really mean. And when DIBP publishes a checklist, our lawyers know how to read between the lines.

Our experience and expertise means that we are often in a position to help people who, based on poor advice or inadequate representation, might otherwise have assumed their case is hopeless.