Importance of IELTS in Oceania

Australia

IELTS has been used by the Australian immigration authorities to assess English proficiency of prospective migrants since May 1998, when this test replaced the ‘access’ test that had been previously used.

There are different IELTS score requirements for different types of visa.

Department of Immigration Level of English Minimum IELTS score (Mar 2019) Visas
Functional English 4.5 Permanent and provisional skilled visas (to avoid paying the English Language Charge)
Vocational English 5.0 457 visa, ENS and RSMS visas through the Temporary Residence Transitional stream for people who have held a 457 visa for 2 years with the employer
Competent English 6.0 ENS and RSMS visas through the Direct Entry Stream, Skilled migration (6.0 is the minimum threshold, but receives 0 points)
Proficient English 7.0 Points Tested Skilled visas (to obtain 10 points)
Superior English 8.0 Points Tested Skilled visas (to obtain 20 points)

New Zealand

 Since 1995, New Zealand has used the IELTS test. There are different IELTS score requirements for different types of visa and type of applicant.

Visa category Minimum IELTS score required if the applicant is not demonstrating the minimum standard in another way (May 2015)
Skilled Migrant Principal applicant: 6.5.                         
Partners and children aged 16 and over: 5.0
Business categories (Investor, Entrepreneur, Long Term Business Visa, Employees of Relocating Business) Principal applicants: 5.0                        
Partners and children aged 16 and over: In some cases, partners and children are not required to meet the minimum level of English at the time the application is lodged, but can provide evidence at a later stage.

Originally, applicants who could not achieve the required score could pay NZ$20,000 fee instead, which would be fully or partially refunded later if the migrant were able to successfully take the test within a certain period (3 to 12 months) after his or her arrival to the country. A few years later, the policy was changed: the fee was reduced, and, instead of being potentially refundable, it became treated as a “pre-purchase” of post-arrival ESL tuition.

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