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Wondering about the available English tests for migration?

IELTS General Training and TOEFL are two popular options among test takers worldwide. Like IELTS, TOEFL also provides reading, writing, listening and speaking scores. But when it comes to relocating overseas for work or migration, IELTS is the clear winner. Let’s take a closer look.

IELTS Vs TOEFL for migration: Understand the difference

  • IELTS is accepted worldwide! Even by the Canadian and UK governments 

Canadian and UK governments as well as immigration departments of Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand only accept IELTS General Training; IELTS is accepted by all governments that require an English Language test. Whereas TOEFL is accepted only by certain governments and immigration departments.

  • Flexibility

TOEFL is largely available on a computer in the majority of countries, whereas IELTS allows you to complete your test on paper or computer in most locations.

  • IELTS is quicker and features more question types

The IELTS General Training spans 165 minutes featuring various question types, including multiple choice, true/false, matching headings, and diagrams. While TOEFL iBT is 195 minutes.

  • Talking to a computer vs speaking to a real person

For TOEFL’s speaking component of the test, you will be talking into a microphone in a room where other test takers will be doing the same. With IELTS, your spoken English is assessed by a real person who understands different accents, face-to-face in a private room. That means you can ask the examiner questions if something is not clear.

  • IELTS vs TOEFL scores

Your IELTS scores are rounded off to the nearest 0.5, which means a score of 6.75 gets upgraded to 7.0! On the other hand, TOEFL uses a system of ‘raw’ and ‘scaled’ scores.

IELTS for migration



Popularity (number of tests taken in 2018)

3.5 million

2.3 million

Test duration (migration test)

165 minutes (IELTS General Training)

195 minutes (TOEFL iBT)

Test type

Paper-based and computer-based

Computer-based only

Accepted by Canada and the UK immigration departments



Speaking test

With a real person who understands different accents

Talking to a computer










  • Does IELTS score affect visa?

IELTS is the only English proficiency test accepted for migration purposes by all four governments of Australia, theUK, Canada, and New Zealand. The minimum score requirements keep changing from time to time. In addition, some migration programmes also offer bonus points for higher scores. Check this scores page to know the minimum IELTS score requirements for some popular migration destinations.

  • IELTS vs TOEFL: which is easier for immigration?

Both tests are convenient for immigration; however, the tests differ in flexibility and the method of taking the test.

  • What type of IELTS is required for immigration?

If you are planning to migrate to an English-speaking country, immigration authorities may ask you to provide evidence of your English language ability. People migrating to Australia, Canada and New Zealand sometimes have the choice of taking the IELTS General Training test. While some individual organisations may accept an Academic result in the place of General Training, this decision is up to them. You will need to contact your specific organisation to learn more. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) normally requires evidence of English proficiency for work visas and migration purposes. The IELTS General Training test is the only internationally available English language test that IRCC accepts. 

If you’re planning to migrate to the UK, you may need to take one of the IELTS for UKVI tests. There are different tests you can take depending on your visa - IELTS for UKVI Academic, IELTS for UKVI General Training, and IELTS for UKVI Life Skills.

  • Can I use IELTS for UKVI General Training for Canada?

You can only take IELTS for UKVI General Training if you’re planning to migrate to the UK, depending on your visa of course. However, if you’re planning on migrating to Canada, the IELTS General Training test is the only internationally available English language test that IRCC accepts.