All about the IELTS

If you have been considering study, work or even migration to Australia, you have no doubt come across the International English Language Testing System (better known as IELTS). It is a standardised test for non-native English speakers that is split into four components – listening, reading, writing and speaking – to measure English language proficiency. An IELTS result is commonly used to support applications to work, study and permanently live in Australia.  

The IELTS is based around nine levels of English proficiency, with band one representing a non-English language user and band nine being equivalent to an expert English speaker. You can choose from two versions of the IELTS test, depending on your reason for coming to Australia – those who are looking to study at university or register for professional work need to take the Academic test, while a General Training version is available to people who are interested in undertaking vocational work and training during their time Down Under. 

The application process to live in Australia can be complex, as there are many requirements that you will need to fulfil. To help, we’ve broken down the three IELTS requirements you need to meet to study, work or migrate to Australia. 

IELTS for study in Australia

As mentioned above, your IELTS score, among many other language tests, can support your application to study in Australia. Depending on what your level of study – undergraduate, postgraduate or vocational – you need to undertake the relevant test to generate your IELTS score. For those looking at university programs, make sure you complete the Academic test; if you’re looking at training or studying below the degree level (a diploma, for example), you will need to sit the General Training version of the IELTS. Keep in mind that Australia requires international students to hold a Student Visa (subclass 500), and you need to achieve a minimum 5.5 IELTS score to meet the eligibility requirement. If you have any questions about the IELTS score required for your course, make sure you contact your Australian institution directly.  

IELTS for work in Australia

If you are interested in working in Australia, you will need to provide evidence of acceptable English proficiency. Australia offers a range of working visas, each with different language requirements, so it is important to research the minimum required score before you apply. It is a good idea to check required IELTS results with your Australian organisation or employer to ensure that you are able to meet them. Those looking to work in professional industries such as healthcare, accounting, engineering and law will need to complete the Academic IELTS test; workers going into vocational areas like tourism, construction and hospitality should instead sit the General Training version. 

IELTS for migration to Australia

The Department of Home Affairs, which runs Australia’s immigration system, requires you to demonstrate your English language proficiency to be eligible for migration to Australia. The required IELTS score varies depending on the visa you’re applying for, so consult with the Department of Home Affairs website to see what level you need to achieve before applying for a visa. Most visas require a minimum level of Competent English from applicants, which is equivalent to a minimum score of six across all four components of the IELTS test. 

Useful Links: 

IELTS for study

IELTS for work

IELTS for migration 

Department of Home Affairs English Language requirements

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