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If you are looking to migrate overseas, you need to pass the English requirement for immigration. You might also want to know what English tests or scores are needed for visas. Whether it’s to work, study or live, moving overseas is an exciting and sometimes daunting step. There are many things to consider when planning your migration journey, and a big part of preparing to migrate is ensuring you have the English language test scores you need for your visa. 

Disclaimer: The purpose of the E2 Blog is to provide general information based on publicly available sources and does not constitute legal or migration advice in any way. Anyone seeking advice on migration should seek advice from a registered migration agent.

Learn about English tests required for migration visas

Many countries have English test requirements for a minimum level of English language skills. If you want to secure permanent residency or other visas in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US or Canada, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English language skills. 

Good English language skills will help you become part of the community in the country you’re migrating to. You’ll be able to find a job or study more easily as well as being able to participate more fully in everyday life – which will make living in your new country a lot more fun!

So, if you’re ready to start preparing for your English language test, you’re in good hands with E2. We have language experts from around the world who can help you prepare for IELTS (Academic or General), PTE, CELPIP, TOEFL or OET (doctors or nurses). 

Our experts at E2 understand the English requirement for immigration. We can even introduce you to some of the slang you might want to understand depending on the country you’re applying visa for. The E2 podcast is a great resource to help you to get acquainted with these useful phrases before you start the immigration process.

Migration to Australia – English test scores for visa

The Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs accepts several English tests as proof of language skills. Health professionals can sit the OET, and everyone else can sit the IELTS, PTE, TOEFL iBT or CAE tests. The English test score you’ll need depends on the visa you’re applying for. Different visa levels require different English language test scores, described as functional, vocational, competent, proficient or superior English. Be sure to check well in advance which level you need.

To meet the English requirement for immigration, you typically need to pass your English test in the 12 months before applying for your visa. Australia’s Department of Home Affairs accepts both IELTS and PTE test results. 

IELTS and PTE scores comparison

Language levelIELTS scorePTE score
Functional EnglishIELTS: Average band score of 4.5 PTE: Total band score of 30
Vocational EnglishIELTS: A minimum score of 5PTE: A minimum score of 36
Competent EnglishIELTS: A minimum score of 6 for each componentPTE: A minimum score of 50 for each component 
Proficient EnglishIELTS: A minimum score of 7PTE: A minimum score of 65
Superior EnglishIELTS: A minimum score of 8PTE: A minimum score of 79
Language levelTOEFL iBT scoreCAE scoreOET Score
Functional EnglishTotal band score of at least 32Total band score of at least 147n/a
Vocational EnglishMinimum grades across 4 components: 4 for listening, 4 for reading, 14 for writing, 14 for speakingA minimum score of 154 in each test component A minimum score of B in each test
Competent EnglishMinimum grades across 4 components: 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing, 18 for speakingA minimum score of 169 in each test componentA minimum score of B in each test
Proficient EnglishMinimum grades across 4 components: 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing, 23 for speakingA minimum score of 185 in each test component A minimum score of B in each test
Superior EnglishMinimum grades across 4 components: 28 for listening, 29 for reading, 30 for writing, 26 for speakingA minimum score of 200 in each test component A minimum score of B in each test

Migration to New Zealand – English tests accepted

Very similar to Australia, New Zealand Immigration accepts test results from IELTS, PTE, TOEFL and OET. Test results must be no more than two years old when you apply for your visa. For residence visas, which allow you to live in New Zealand rather than travel or stay only a short while, you need the following scores: 

  • IELTS General OR Academic: minimum score overall of 6.5 
  • PTE Academic: minimum score of 58
  • TOEFL: minimum score of 79
  • OET: minimum grade B across all components 

Watch our video and learn about top tips to tackle the Writing and Speaking Roleplay in the OET.

Migration to Canada – English test scores required

If you want to migrate to Canada you can choose two English tests for visas: the IELTS or the CELPIP test. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) accepts both tests for immigration purposes.

Apart from the English requirement, the Canadian migration system is points-based. You need to achieve a minimum amount of points required for the visa you want to apply for. Your English language skills contribute to your overall points tally. 

Express Entry

Immigration and Citizenship Canada offers an Express Entry option for people with certain skills and experience. If you have gained work experience in Canada, have a job offer from a Canadian company or are skilled in specific trades, or meet specific language and skills criteria, you may be eligible. 

For Visa purposes, your English test score will be converted into a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score. You’ll need different scores in the various test components depending on what CLB you need to reach for your visa. 

Canadian Language BenchmarkIELTS speaking scoreIELTS reading scoreIELTS writing scoreIELTS listening score
10 or higher7.5-98-97.5-98.5-9
Canadian Language BenchmarkCELPIP speaking scoreCELPIP  reading scoreCELPIP  writing scoreCELPIP  listening score
10 or higher10101010

Read our guide to migration in Canada for further information. today.

Learn how to pass pass CELPIP the first time!

Migration to UK – Accepted English tests for visas

In the UK, IELTS academic, IELTS general, and IELTS life skills are all acceptable tests for migration. You can also sit the PTE Academic UKVI or the PTE Home test. 

You should note that IELTS life skills is a pass/fail grade only and certifies speaking and listening language skills only, up to B1 level. If you need to complete each test component including reading and writing to achieve the score you need, IELTS life skills won’t provide you with the required result. 

To move to the UK as a skilled worker, you must provide evidence of English language skills at a B1 level. 

You must also provide evidence of English language skills if you’re applying for a UK visa for international students. If you’re pursuing a degree level or above, for example, a bachelor’s or master’s degree, the English requirement for immigration is B2 level. If you’re studying below degree level, for instance, a certificate or diploma, you’ll need B1 level English skills. 

Language levelIELTS Life skills scoreIELTS for UKVI scorePTE Academic scorePTE Home score
B1Pass4 overall and in each componentListening: 43 Reading: 43 Writing: 43 Speaking: 43Pass
B25.5 overall and in each componentListening: 59 Reading: 59 Writing: 59 Speaking: 59

Migration to USA

For Student Visas, you must have been accepted into a US educational institution before you apply. Many institutions set their own English test requirements for students to be accepted. The educational institution determines which test you sit and what score you need. 

If you’re migrating to the US for work, your employer may require you to have specific English language skills. Check US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) for the English requirement for immigration.

Know the English language requirements before immigration

Always check the specific requirements of the visa you intend to apply for. Reach out to the country’s consulate or embassy if you have questions. Migrating overseas is an exciting step, and with the proper preparation, you’ll feel at home in your new country in no time. 

Put a plan in place to To achieve the English requirement for immigration. English language tests are designed to challenge even native English speakers, so take the time to prepare even if you’ve been speaking English your whole life. 

Prove your English language proficiency with E2

You can achieve the English requirement scores you need if you prepare with high-quality materials. Developed by experts, E2 has a wide range of materials, from mock tests to one-on-one tutorials, and live classes to help you achieve your immigration goals. Our English test prep packages are varied and accessible, so you’re not paying for add-ons you don’t need. Choose from bronze, silver and gold for IELTS, PTE, CELPIP, TOEFL or OET and know you’re in good hands.  

Whether you’re preparing to sit your English language test for immigration or study, E2 can help you on your journey. We’ve supported over 1.8 million English language students to attain the English score requirements they need for immigration. You can rely on us to take the first step in your exciting migration journey.

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