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English language requirements

There are recent changes approved by the AASW Board of Management in August 2019 to the AASW English Language Policy.

English language proficiency is essential for respectful, effective and safe social work practice in Australia.

The AASW English Language Policy is applicable to all internationally qualified social workers for migration purposes and AASW membership eligibility purposes, and all international graduates of AASW accredited social work programs, for migration purposes, as part of our International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) program.

Previously the test scores were required to be gained in one sitting of the test, however the amendment permits demonstration of evidence of English language proficiency in the International English Testing System(IELTS) Academic Test through two test sittings in a six(6) month period, provided that:

  • a minimum score of 7.0 is achieved in either one or two settings and
  • a minimum score of 7.0 is achieved in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing and speaking) in a maximum of two sittings in a six-month period, and no component score is below 6.5. Where a component score falls below 6.5, the test would not be acceptable.
  • OR meet the exemption requirement below
  • Demonstration that you have been taught, assessed and completed all your secondary education in English in the nominated countries* AND successfully completed (with a pass grade or higher) the equivalent of three years or more full-time tertiary study (at Bachelor Degree level or higher) which was taught and assessed in English in nominated countries*

We understand that attaining the required scores can be stressful for international students both in preparing and sitting for the IELTS Test. The amendment to the policy, is a positive decision in promoting a flexibility for students to gain the scores in two sittings.

All applicants seeking assessment of social work qualifications for migration and/or employment purposes must demonstrate English language proficiency. To demonstrate this:

The AASW reserves the right to ask an applicant to take the Academic IELTS examination if there is uncertainty about their level of English proficiency.

NOTE: The AASW ONLY accepts Academic IELTS.

Nominated countries include:

Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom or United States of America

Evidence of English language proficiency

Applicants may demonstrate English language proficiency in the following ways:

  • Submission of certified Academic IELTS test results, OR
  • Submission of certified copies of secondary results or a letter from your secondary school or the relevant department of education in the country of study which states that your secondary education was completed, taught and assessed in the English language, AND
  • Submission of certified copies of tertiary results evidencing that they were successfully completed, taught and assessed in the English language, OR
  • Where certified copies of secondary and tertiary results cannot be supplied, a Statutory Declaration certifying that the education was successfully completed, taught and assessed in the English language may also be acceptable, include name of school/s, years studied and country in which you studied.

For more information about statutory declarations, please read our frequently asked questions page. If you are having difficulty obtaining evidence of secondary education, please contact us at the AASW.

English Language Policy

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers