The prospect of relocating and settling down in a foreign land is always exciting. But the move entails meeting a lot of compliances which often includes taking a language proficiency test. If you are planning to move to a country where English is the language of communication, the International English Language Testing System(IELTS) is a standardized English language test that you need to take.

Educational institutions, employers, professional registration bodies, and government immigration agencies often require proof of English language skills as part of their recruitment or admission procedures. IELTS is widely accepted for these purposes.

Moving Abraod
Proficiency in the English language is a must to move to an English-speaking nation. | Source: pixabay.com

IELTS  uses a nine-band scale that identifies the level of hold over the language. Every country has its own minimum score requirement that candidates must fulfill to become eligible for immigration. IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, Cambridge English Language Assessment, and IDP Education Australia.

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Importance of IELTS for Immigrants

IELTS is used as a screening process for applications to obtain citizenship or the right to permanent residence in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. The reason why the government in these countries has made it mandatory is that language proficiency is crucial in helping an immigrant integrate with the community. Knowing the native language will ease the transition process and so, speaking English counts as a major advantage.

The IELTS exam is accepted by immigration authorities and continues to play an important role in using language assessment as a means to control migration numbers. The idea is to allow people who will be able to intermingle easily with the community and settle down quickly in the new land. Language proficiency is considered to be strongly related to a person's ability to adjust and adapt to his new environment.

More than 11,000 employers, universities, schools, and immigration bodies around the world accept IELTS. There are two types of IELTS tests meant to cater to two distinct sets of audiences. IELTS General Training test is meant for those who wish to work or immigrate to an English-speaking country while IELTS Academic test is meant for those who wish to pursue higher education in these countries. So identifying the correct type of test is important.

writing
Over 1 million Indians take IELTS every year. | Source: pixabay.com

The IELTS exam has four parts to it, aimed at testing your English language Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking abilities. While the first three are held on the same day without any breaks in between, the Speaking test can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Regardless of the type of exam, General Training or Academic, all test takers must take the same Listening and Speaking tests. Reading and Writing tests though are different. Almost all major cities in India have IELTS testing centers. You can book a date online for the test through the official IELTS website.

Eligibility Criteria for Test Takers

When it comes to the minimum IELTS score, each country has its own requirements for candidates who wish to apply for a resident visa. There are two ways of taking the test at an authorized IELTS test center. You can take either a handwritten test or a computer test. The fee for the test is Rs.14,700. Results of the IELTS on Paper Test are published 13 days after completion of the test while those who opt for IELTS on Computer Test, receive their results three to five days after the test. The results are available for online viewing for 28  days.

Every year, thousands of Indians decide to move abroad in search of a better quality of life. While studying in a foreign university continues to be one of the more popular reasons to migrate to an international destination, exciting employment opportunities with great pay packages are also major incentives for making this move. But moving to an English-speaking country means taking IELTS is mandatory. The minimum test scores required for some of the most preferred destinations for immigration are discussed below.

IELTS for Australia

Australia with its strong economy has immerged as a global leader attracting thousands of immigration applications every year. There are strict international immigration laws in the country. Permanent migration to Australia is a highly regulated affair. Australia issues around 190,000 permanent visas per year. Most of these are for skilled migration.

The language proficiency test has to be taken if you are planning to apply for a resident visa. IELTS is accepted by Australia's Department of Home Affairs for permanent residency in the country. The minimum test score for Australian immigration is 6.

Canada Immigration
Canada's better economic prospects attract thousands of Indian immigrants every year. |Source: unsplash.com

IELTS for the United Kingdom

If you are planning to migrate to the UK, you need to appear for a language proficiency test to become eligible to apply for a visa. The UK Home Office recognizes IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills as Secure English language tests (SELT) for visa applications. The minimum score of the test varies between 4 and 7 depending on the migration visa one applies for. The fee for IELTS for UKVI is Rs. 15,100 and for IELTS Life Skills is Rs. 13,940.

The UK has a lot of Indian immigrants. London which is one of the most exciting cities in the world to live and work has thousands of Indian residents who have made the city their home. So, if you are keen to embrace British culture and settle in the UK, taking the language test and scoring well is an important part of the process.

IELTS for Canada

Canada has emerged as one of the most popular choices for Indians planning to migrate to a foreign country. IELTS continues to be the language screening test that one has to take in order to be eligible to apply for Candian PR.  A minimum of 6.0 in each section of the IELTS has to be scored to qualify for any immigration programs to Canada. That is equivalent to CLB(Canadian Language Benchmark) Band 7.

The exam score will be valid for a period of two years during which one can apply for an immigration visa. The language exam is one of the most important criteria in this process. There's a major focus on English language skills to ensure that an immigrant can settle down and integrate with the community with considerably fewer challenges.

Preparing for IELTS

To fare well in the test, you need thorough preparation. Study materials are available online which are very helpful. British Council offers IELTS training to candidates who wish to sit for the test. Here are some tips on how to start your IELTS test prep.

Knowing the Test Pattern

Familiarize yourself with the format of the test. This would entail checking the type of questions and the associated task that are set for each section. It's equally important to know the rules and regulations of IELTS. This will fill you in on the time duration for each section, the marking scheme, etc.

Solving Sample Questions

As with any test, solving sample test questions helps to boost confidence. Time management improves drastically through this exercise. You will also become familiar with the question types which will help you to perform well during your final test.

online test
Taking the official IELTS practice test online helps to evaluate preparation for the exam. | Source: unsplash.com

Taking the Official Practice Test

IELTS Progress Check can be taken online. This is an official test and a paid service. Depending on the kind of visa you have applied for, you can choose between the Academic practice test or the General Training practice test. Within 5 days of the exam, you will receive an official feedback report with indicative test band scores that will help you to assess your preparation. Accordingly, you can book a date for the test at an authorized IELTS center in your city.

IELTS test dates are available up to 4 times a month. But before you book your test, you need to feel confident about your preparation. Apart from British Council, online training services are offered for improving English language proficiency. You can visit websites like SuperProf to find IELTS coaching near me. These online platforms help to connect students with teachers across the country. You can find teachers who will coach you for IELTS on this portal.

Settling down in a foreign land will have its own challenges as well as advantages. But the one thing that you need, to make things easier for you is to know the primary language of communication of that country. So, taking a language proficiency test like IELTS will help you to understand how good you are with the English language and help you to fulfill one of the major application criteria for a resident visa.

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.