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Can IELTS Academic be Used for Immigration?

ielts academic immigration

As you probably know, IELTS Academic is used for acceptance to universities. But can IELTS Academic be used for immigration too?

IELTS Academic vs. IELTS General Training for Immigration

First, you should be aware that IELTS General Training is specifically designed for immigration purposes. Compared to the Academic version, General Training’s Reading and Writing sections contain tasks that are more relevant to the English everyday work and life.

IELTS Academic is less geared toward the daily work and life that immigrants face in the English-speaking world. Instead, the Reading and Writing activities are more oriented toward academic English.

For this reason, IELTS Academic may not prepare you quite as well for the immigrant experience. That being said, there are ways you can use this test for immigration, under certain circumstances.

So Can IELTS Academic be Used for Immigration Purposes? Yes, if You’re A Medical Professional

Are you applying for a skilled migrant visa as a medical professional? If so, you’ll be asked to take the IELTS Academic, rather than General Training.

The IELTS Academic exam is used to grant visas to a wide variety of healthcare workers. Doctors and nurses are given the academic version of the test for immigration. So are nursing assistants, pharmacists, speech-language pathologists, and so on. Some countries even give the IELTS Academic exam to medical lab technicians.

(For more information, see my post on IELTS for medical professionals.)

Do You Need to Take IELTS General Training to Stay In-Country After Your Degree?

Suppose you’ve just graduated university in a country such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., Ireland, etc…. And suppose you now want to stay in-country and get a job.

You took IELTS Academic to get into school. Do you now need to take IELTS General Training to switch to long-term immigration? Don’t worry — you probably don’t.

All the major English speaking countries allow international students to pursue work after graduation, as an extension of their initial student visa. The policies on how to do this vary from country to country. But generally, working in-country after graduation doesn’t require any new English testing.

This is an indirect way of using IELTS Academic to immigrate. If the Academic version of the test can get you into school, you won’t need General Training for long-term immigration later. If you’re near graduation or have just graduated, talk to your university’s international education office. They can help you explore your long-term work and immigration options.

The Takeaway

Obviously, IELTS Academic isn’t as “immigration friendly” as IELTS General Training. But Academic will give you some opportunities that you can’t get with a General Training score. And at the same time, General Training opens certain doors that IELTS Academic won’t.

If you’re considering going overseas, but you aren’t yet sure how you want to do that, it may be good to take both exams? IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are similar in many ways. Qualifying scores in the two versions of the IELTS can give you many options when you go abroad.

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12 Responses to Can IELTS Academic be Used for Immigration?

  1. mohammad June 21, 2018 at 12:10 pm #

    When I applied for the IELTS academic test I mentioned that the reason for taking the test is to register as a doctor in Australia. Now I want to apply for a master program in Canada, do I have to retake the test again?

    • David Recine
      David Recine June 26, 2018 at 12:26 pm #

      You may have to retake the test again, but you may not. IELTS scores expire in two years. So if you’re exam is more than two years old, you’ll need a retake. If not, then the same score you used in the Australian system should also be suitable for study in Canada.

  2. Ayesha August 13, 2018 at 8:09 am #

    Does academic test suffice the need for immigration to Canada or not? And i was going through some law colleges in Canada, which shows that, both Ielts and Tofel are required for Pakistani students to apply for studying Law…plz do guide

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 15, 2018 at 5:57 pm #

      Hi Ayesha,

      Immigration and temporary student status are not the same. If you want to study at law school, then you could use the Academic IELTS, but if you want to immigrate just for work purposes, no.

      If the law college pages have told you specifically you need both tests, then you need both tests. The schools would be the visa sponsors, so you need to meet their criteria exactly.

  3. Sejal August 26, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    I have registered for IELTS academic & my purpose is immigration. At time of registration, was not knowing which is suitable to my need and now only 1 week is left to my exam what should i do. Pls guide me.

    Thanks

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 29, 2018 at 8:25 am #

      Hello Sejal,

      This depends on the country’s immigration policies. I recommend that you look up the policies for the country that you wish to immigrate to, and use that information to determine whether or not the Academic test is appropriate. Since your test is so close, you probably can’t cancel and get a refund (you should contact your testing center for more information). So, I recommend that you take the IELTS test and, if the Academic test won’t work for your purposes, you can schedule a General test later on. Your preparation for the Academic Test will also work for the General test, so the Academic test is good practice for the General one. Good luck!

  4. Kiran August 29, 2018 at 5:37 pm #

    I want to work as a clinical psychologist in canada..also want Permanent residence in canada..which ielts is best for me ?? Academic or general??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 31, 2018 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Kiran,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not immigration advice, so I’m afraid that we aren’t the best people to answer this question. I wouldn’t want to provide you with an incorrect answer to such an important question. I recommend that you read this blog post: IELTS for Medical Professionals and that you explore Canada’s Immigration Website. If you have further questions, you may want to reach out to an immigration representative or other immigration professional.

  5. Afreen October 8, 2018 at 11:21 pm #

    Hi. Can I use my IELTS General score to apply for PG Diploma in Canada?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 13, 2018 at 10:16 am #

      Hi Afreen,

      In some cases this may be allowable, but it will depend on the schools individually. They are the ones sponsoring your visa, so you have to meet their individual requirements. I suggest contacting the admissions departments of the schools you wish to apply to. Good luck!

  6. Faisal October 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm #

    Hi , i did my ielts in 2017 , so now i got admission in 2018 in australian college .so now my question is that my course is of 3 years and i will be applying for pr after my studies , so when i apply for pr till that time my ielts will be expiring cause it last for 3 year and my course will finish in 2020 and my ielts will expire in 2020 early , so do i need to take ielts again if yes then which one academic or the other one ?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 13, 2018 at 10:57 am #

      Hi Faisal,

      That depends. Often, if you complete a course in an English-speaking program, you are able to waive IELTS requirements again, but this varies from one institution to the next. I highly recommend asking the admissions office how they recommend handling this. If you are going for another academic program, you will likely take the academic IELTS again. All the best! 🙂


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