On 1 April 2009, the government of Australia announced a raise to the minimum English language requisite from IELTS 4.5 band to IELTS 5 band for all Subclass 457 visa candidates in the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) Major Groups 4 to 7 professions and chefs and head chefs, as one of the urgent measures to get better the reliability of the Subclass 457 visa program.
The procedures were developed through 2008 following the promise by the government in last year's Budget to put into practice a package of longer-term reforms to the Subclass 457 visa program in 2009 to develop both its integrity and aptitude to deliver the skills needed in the economy.
The change to the English language requirement from IELTS 4.5 band to IELTS 5.0 band is effectual from 14 April 2009. This fresh requirement will apply to all Subclass 457 visa applicants who are chosen for an occupation in ASCO Major Groups 4-7 or chefs and head chefs (ASCO 3322-11 and ASCO 3322-01) who put forward their application on or after 14 April 2009.
Note: Applicants, who put forward Subclass 457 visa applications prior to 14 April 2009 as chefs and head chefs (ASCO 3322-11 and ASCO 3322-01) that were not finalized, were earlier advised to present proof that they had effectively been tested as having English proficiency at IELTS 4.5.
As at 2 June 2009, applicants in these circumstances no longer require to meet this requirement. Subclass 457 visa applicants in this place may wish to make contact with their relevant case officer for more information.
This change to the English language threshold was initiated to address concerns about the abuse of workers from non-English speaking countries and to enhance line up with the English language requirement of permanent skilled migration groups.