Moving to Australia

A Guide For Migration to Australia

It’s a big step to move to a new country. Thankfully, you’re not alone. We’ll help you with some background information about the types of visas are available and what Australia has to offer you.

Your visa options

If you like the opportunity to live, study or work in Australia, there are many visa options available to you. There is a study visa, skilled, sponsored work visa and business visa. Some of these may lead to Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia.

IELTS Migration Guide for work & study

Your IELTS options

The IELTS Academic test has been developed if you wish to study at university or college as an undergraduate or postgraduate student or join or gain entry into a professional institution. The IELTS General Training test has been developed to test your every-day, non-academic English.

Which IELTS test do you need?

What Australian visa do you need?

Do live overseas and you’d like to create a future in Australia? There are a number of visa options available to you. Some allow you to live and work in Australia for a couple of years. Other allow you to stay in Australia indefinitely. We’ll introduce you to the skills based visas and employer sponsored visas. To be successful, you must meet some basic requirements for skilled migration, and pass the Australian immigration Points Test.

Skills based Australian visas

The purpose of the Skilled Migration Program is to attract highly employable people for migration to Australia. It is one of the most common forms of migration to Australia. If you have skills or qualifications that Australia needs, you can be:

Australian Visas issued under this category:
  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
  • Or the Skilled Regional sponsored visa (subclass 489)
  • The new Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491)
  • Finally, the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)

You can’t apply directly for these visas. Instead, you need an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs to apply for these visas. Planning to apply for an Australian visa under this category? You should express your interest through SkillSelect. This online program has two steps: first, submission of an EOI (Expression of Interest), and second, actual visa application. How does this work?

Get IELTS for your Skilled Visa

Find out who accepts IELTS in Australia

Live and work in Australia. IELTS helps you.
How does SkillSelect work?
  • Step 1: Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)

An Expression of Interest is not a visa application. But it still requires you to meet all the basic requirements for the visa. This includes reaching the minimum points for the visa. Your EOI is assessed based on the points you get in the points test. In fact, Your EOI will be ranked according to your score on the applicable points test.

If you can demonstrate superior English language skills, you can claim more points. More points means a higher ranking in your EOI application. Check our 5 tips to get superior English.

  • Step 2: Invitation to apply for a visa

If your EOI is successful, you receive an invitation to apply for a visa. In your visa application, you show that you achieved the score specified in the points test for your EOI.

What IELTS score do you need for a Skilled visa?

IELTS for the Skilled Independent visa

The Skilled Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) requires an expression of interest. The higher your score on your IELTS test, the more points you can get towards your migration application. See our 5 tips to get superior English for your Points Test Visas.

IELTS and the Department of Home Affairs:
  • complete the test within 3 years from the date of submitting a valid visa application
  • achieve the required test scores in a single attempt at the test

Book your IELTS test for the Skilled Independent visa

IELTS for the Skilled Regional visa

A Skilled Regional sponsored visa (subclass 489) requires an expression of interest. The higher your score on your IELTS test, the more points you can get towards your migration application. See our 5 tips to get superior English for your Points Test Visas.

IELTS and the Department of Home Affairs:
  • complete the test within 3 years from the date of submitting a valid visa application
  • achieve the required test scores in a single attempt at the test

Book your IELTS test for the Skilled Regional visa

IELTS for the Skilled Nominated visa

Finally, the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) also requires an expression of interest. The higher your score on your IELTS test, the more points you can get towards your migration application. See our 5 tips to get superior English for your Points Test Visas.

IELTS and the Department of Home Affairs:
  • complete the test within 3 years from the date of submitting a valid visa application
  • achieve the required test scores in a single attempt at the test

Book your IELTS test for the Skilled Nominated visa

Employer-Sponsored Visa

The alternative to general skilled migration is employer sponsored visas. The benefit is twofold: it allows an Australian employers in need of skilled labour to find someone with a specific skill and sponsor them. On the other hand, it allows a skilled labourer of a foreign country to work with an Australian employers and live in Australia.

Australian Visas Issued Under This Category:
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482)
  • Employer Nomination (Subclass 186)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187)
The Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa

For decades, the Temporary Work (subclass 457) was the most popular path to Australia. It filled skill shortages in key industries. However, in April 2017 the Australian Government reformed this visa subclass. As replacement, they introduced a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482).

The Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa

In place of the 457, two new streams of the Temporary Skill Shortage visa now exit. First, the Short Term Skills Shortage Stream. This grants a two-year stay and you can renew it for another two years. However, it doesn’t lead to PR unless you are in a regional area. Second, the Medium and Long Term Strategic Shortage Stream. This is a longer-term visa granting a four-year stay. It offers a path to PR after three years. But, there are some exceptions regarding the applicant’s role, salary and the size of their employer.

Get IELTS for your Skilled Visa

Find out who accepts IELTS in Australia

Get the score you need to move to Australia with IELTS

What IELTS score do you need for a Skilled visa?

IELTS for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482)

Are you applying for the Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa? You need to demonstrate that you meet certain minimum standards of English language proficiency (unless exemptions apply). IELTS helps you prove your language proficiency.

Required results for Short Term Skills Shortage Stream
  • Overall band score of at least 5.0 with a score of at least 4.5 in each of the test components.
Required results for Short Term Skills Shortage Stream
  • Overall band score of at least 5.0 with a score of at least 5.0 in each of the test components.

Generally, you must: complete the test within 3 years from the date of submitting a valid visa application. Also, you need to achieve the required test scores in a single attempt at the test.

Get IELTS to show you have competent English

IELTS for the Employer Nomination (Subclass 186)

Are you applying for the Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa? You need to demonstrate that you meet certain minimum standards of English language proficiency (unless exemptions apply). IELTS helps you prove your language proficiency.

Required IELTS results for the Direct Entry Stream
Required IELTS results for the Temporary Residence Transition stream

Get IELTS to show you have competent English

IELTS for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187)

Are you applying for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) visa? You need to demonstrate that you meet certain minimum standards of English language proficiency (unless exemptions apply). IELTS helps you prove your language proficiency.

Required IELTS results for the Direct Entry Stream
Required IELTS results for the Temporary Residence Transition stream

Get IELTS to show you have competent English

Check if you’re exempt from the English language proficiency requirement:

Sometimes you are exempt from the English language proficiency requirement. This could be the case:

  • When you completed at least five years of study in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa or the Republic of Ireland.
  • You’re a citizen and passport holder of the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland.
  • Successfully completed the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, or study at Certificate IV level or higher in Australia within two years of applying for a student visa.
  • You enrol full time in school studies as a principal course (including secondary exchange programs), postgraduate research or a standalone English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) program.

If you are not on this list, you probably need to provide evidence of English language proficiency for your visa application.

Book IELTS for your visa

IELTS band scores for migration

If you are applying for an Australian work visa, a student visa, or Permanent Residency, chances are you need to show evidence of your English language skills. Because IELTS is the most respected language test in the world, we can help you demonstrate your English language proficiency.

Functional English

If your visa application requires you to show you have Functional English, you need to have an overall IELTS score of 4.5. Not sure what this means? Read our explanation of IELTS band scores. IELTS can help you achieve this score with free support tools.

Access IELTS support tools

Just remember, this is guide only. The IELTS score you require will depend on which visa you need when moving to Australia. Find out what IELTS score you need at the Department of Home Affairs. Before you book your IELTS test, we recommend that you check with your university, workplace or Australian Government in order to understand the level of skill you need to demonstrate, and which version of IELTS you need.

Vocational English

If your visa application requires you to show you have Vocational English, you need to have at least an IELTS score of 5.0 in each of the four test components (speaking, reading, listening and writing). Not sure what this means? Read our explanation of IELTS band scores. IELTS can help you achieve this score with free support tools.

Access IELTS support tools

Just remember, this is guide only. The IELTS score you require will depend on which visa you need when moving to Australia. Find out what IELTS score you need at the Department of Home Affairs. Before you book your IELTS test, we recommend that you check with your university, workplace or Australian Government in order to understand the level of skill you need to demonstrate, and which version of IELTS you need.

Competent English

If your visa application requires you to show you have Competent English, you need to have at least an IELTS score of 6.0 in each of the four test components (speaking, reading, listening and writing). Not sure what this means? Read our explanation of IELTS band scores. IELTS can help you achieve this score with free support tools.

Access IELTS support tools

Just remember, this is guide only. The IELTS score you require will depend on which visa you need when moving to Australia. Find out what IELTS score you need at the Department of Home Affairs. Before you book your IELTS test, we recommend that you check with your university, workplace or Australian Government in order to understand the level of skill you need to demonstrate, and which version of IELTS you need.

Proficient English

If your visa application requires you to show you have Proficient English, you need to have at least an IELTS score of 7.0 in each of the four test components (speaking, reading, listening and writing). Not sure what this means? Read our explanation of IELTS band scores. IELTS can help you achieve this score with free support tools.

Access IELTS support tools

Just remember, this is guide only. The IELTS score you require will depend on which visa you need when moving to Australia. Find out what IELTS score you need at the Department of Home Affairs. Before you book your IELTS test, we recommend that you check with your university, workplace or Australian Government in order to understand the level of skill you need to demonstrate, and which version of IELTS you need.

Superior English

If your visa application requires you to show you have Superior English, you need to have at least an IELTS score of 8.0 in each of the four test components (speaking, reading, listening and writing). Not sure what this means? Read our explanation of IELTS band scores. IELTS can help you achieve this score with free support tools.

Access IELTS support tools

Just remember, this is guide only. The IELTS score you require will depend on which visa you need when moving to Australia. Find out what IELTS score you need at the Department of Home Affairs. Before you book your IELTS test, we recommend that you check with your university, workplace or Australian Government in order to understand the level of skill you need to demonstrate, and which version of IELTS you need.

Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. If you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent. However, you can also get free advice for student visas.

IELTS for native English speakers

For most Australian visas, you must be able to meet the English eligibility criteria at the time you apply for the visa. Sometimes, citizens or holders of a valid passport from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the United States can claim visa points for Proficient or Superior English only if you undertake an approved English language test. IELTS is the perfect way to show your proficiency as a native speaker.

If you’re a native speaker, find out how you need to prepare. We even offer a free IELTS Masterclass that is designed to help you in your ability to reach a high band score.

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IELTS tips for native English speakers