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IELTS for migration purposes

Updated: May 11, 2022

Text reads 'IELTS migration purposes' in front of a photo of a smiling woman in a hat reading a map as she walks down a narrow street.

In many English-speaking countries around the world, IELTS is required for skilled migration and permanent residency. These countries use IELTS scores in order to see prospective immigrants' competencies of the English language.

If you take the IELTS exam, which stands for International English Language Testing System, you will be scored between 1 and 9 for your competency in English language reading, writing, listening and speaking.

There are two types of IELTS tests, namely IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The Academic exam is for those wishing to enrol in a bachelor's or postgraduate degree programme in an English-speaking country, whereas passing the General Training is sufficient for migrating for work, other study, training or residency.

IELTS is the only secure English language test approved by the UK Visas and Immigrations department (UKVI) for those applying both inside and outside of the UK. It is also accepted for entry into Australia, Canada and New Zealand and can be used for study, work or migration.

Another country that accepts IELTS as proof of English ability is the USA. However, in the USA is it only used as evidence for study and work.

Each country that accepts IELTS as a form of evidence sets its own IELTS requirements. For the very latest information on the requirements set by these countries, you should visit the relevant government websites.


Minimum score required: 6

To apply for visa in Australia, such as study, work or permanent residency, the department of Home Affairs requires proof of English language ability in the form of IELTS. Many workplaces and accrediting bodies within the country will require it before hiring you.


Score required: dependent on visa type

Within Canada, IELTS General Training is the only internationally-available test for recognising a person’s proficiency in English language. It is accepted by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for immigration into Canada.

IELTS is the evidence required for proof of your competency of the English language enabling potential permanent residency and an application for a work visa.

New Zealand

Minimum score require: 6.5

The IELTS test has been used by New Zealand since 1995. Its government requires IELTS as evidence of a person’s proficiency of the English language for many of their visas. Visa categories include 'skilled migrant', 'investor' and 'entrepreneur'.

What visa you are applying affects what score you need to achieve in the exam to successfully be approved as an immigrant into New Zealand.

United Kingdom

Minimum score required: 4

When applying to settle permanently within the UK, a requirement is evidence of your English language ability. Since 2015, the IELTS exam have been one of only two exams included on the UK government list of secure English language tests.

The IELTS examination would be proof of the level your English language is at during the time of applying for long residence.

United States of America

Minimum score require: dependent on organisation

In the USA, you cannot use IELTS to apply for permanent residency but it is considered essential for applying to a university, college or workplace within the country. The score you must achieve in the exam depends on which particular organisation you are applying to be a member of, as well as what sector or subject area your role will involve.

Whether you wish to migrate to work, study or live, study with English language tutors from Notting Hill College to be fully prepared for your IELTS exam. Contact us to learn more about our Think English IELTS Preparation course today.


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