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With its vibrant culture, beautiful landscape and strong economy, Australia is a popular destination for those looking to work and study there. It’s no wonder that gaining permanent residency is a goal sought by many graduating students and professionals worldwide.

To work and permanently settle in Australia, you’ll need to prove that you can meet a minimum language standard for day-to-day conversations, be it ordering a flat white or talking to your colleagues.

Taking the IELTS test with IDP is an excellent way to meet the Australian language requirement. IELTS is the preferred test for migration to Australia accepted by almost all professional entities and is integrated into the point-based immigration system.

To obtain a visa for Australian permanent residency, you can take either the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training . However, you need IELTS Academic for professional registration and work in Australia.

Getting permanent residency in Australia

There are three main pathways of work-based immigration to Australia, namely employer-sponsored workers, general skilled migration and skill selection.

To become an Australian Permanent Resident under the General Skilled Migration Program, there are 7 visa subclasses, all of which use a point-based immigration system.

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)

  • Skilled Nomination visa (subclass 190)

  • Graduate Temporary visa (subclass 485)

  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489)

  • Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887)

  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188)

  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

There are several criteria in the point-based immigration system you must be aware of:

  • Age

  • English language proficiency

  • Work experience (in and out of Australia)

  • Level of education

  • Australian study (claiming additional points for doing a course in Australia of at least two academic years or more)

  • Specialist education

  • Spouse skill points

  • Other (nominations, community language accreditation, etc...)

To successfully gain a visa through the skilled migration program, you need a minimum of 65 points in the Point Assessment Grid.

You can calculate your points using the official calculator from the Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs.

IELTS is one of the critical components of the system. While a minimum score of 6 in each area (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) is required, a higher score will gain you more points.

There are three bands of IELTS scores (competent, proficient and superior) which correspond to the number of points allocated.

Point allocation table for IELTS scores

IELTS score 

Points allocated 

Competent (score of 6.0 or more)

0

Proficient (score of 7.0 or more)

10

Superior (score of 8.0 or more)

20

It is important to note that most undergraduate or postgraduate courses already require you to attain an overall band score of 6 or 6.5 for your IELTS test.

While IELTS remains the preferred test, other language tests such as TOEFL iBT, CTE, PTE Academic and OET are also accepted by The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). OET is only approved for medical and allied health professionals.

IELTS score for Australia to study in Australian universities

As an international student looking to study in Australia, you’ll have to score a minimum total of 5.5 in order to enrol in your university and course of choice.

Below are the minimum IELTS requirements according to the top-ranked universities in Australia.

Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024

University ranking lists are a way to evaluate the reputation, research quality and global reach of universities worldwide.

One of the world’s most established metrics, the Times Higher Education University World Rankings assesses universities based on the following five key performance indicators: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income.

University

Rank

Global rank

IELTS minimum requirement (undergraduate programmes)

IELTS minimum requirement (postgraduate programmes)

University of Melbourne 

1

37

6.5

6.5

Monash University 

2

54

6.5

7.0

University of Sydney  

3

60

6.5

6.5

Australian National University 

4

67

6.5

6.5

The University of Queensland 

5

70

6.5

6.5

UNSW Sydney 

6

84

7.0

7.5

University of Adelaide 

7

=111

6.0

6.5

The University of Western Australia 

8

=143 

6.5

7.5

University of Technology Sydney 

9

148

6.5

6.5

Macquarie University 

10

180

6.5

6.5

QS World University Rankings 2024

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) world rankings is also another global premier ranking system that rates universities by institution and subject through academic, student, employer and international indicators.

University

Rank

Global rank

IELTS minimum requirement (undergraduate programmes)

IELTS minimum requirement (postgraduate programmes)

The University of Melbourne 

1

30

6.5

6.5

The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) 

2

33

7.0

7.5

The University of Sydney 

3

41

6.5

6.5

Australian National University (ANU) 

4

45

6.5

6.5

Monash University 

5

50

6.5

7.0

The University of Queensland 

6

57

6.5

6.5

The University of Western Australia 

7

90

6.5

7.5

University of Adelaide 

8

109

6.0

6.5

University of Technology Sydney 

9

137

6.5

6.5

Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) 

10

185

6.5

6.5

Score requirements for Australian PR language tests

Here are the different score requirements for the various language tests for permanent residency in Australia.

English language proficiency 

Section  

IELTS 

Pearson Language Tests (PTE) 

TOEFL iBT 

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) 

Occupational English Test (OET) 

Competent 

Listening  

50 

12 

169 

 

Reading 

50 

13 

169 

 

Writing  

50 

21 

169 

 

Speaking  

50 

18 

169 

Proficient 

Listening  

65 

24 

185 

 

Reading  

65 

24 

185 

 

Writing  

65 

27 

185 

 

Speaking 

65 

23 

185 

Superior 

Listening  

79 

28 

200 

 

Reading  

79 

29 

200 

 

Writing  

79 

30 

200 

 

Speaking  

79 

26 

200  

IELTS requirements for visas to work and attain Australian PR in 2024

1. Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)

This visa allows workers with key skills to work and stay in Australia. You will be subjected to a skills assessment that will check if you meet the standards set to work in a relevant occupation such as a hospitality manager, actuary or engineer.

You will have to score at least 65 points on the point-based immigration system as well as attain a level of competent English.

This will mean at least 6.0 for your overall IELTS score and a 6.0 in every skill.

2. Skilled Nomination visa (subclass 190)

This visa allows you to work and study anywhere in Australia. You must have a relevant occupation as well as pass the skills assessment check. The relevant occupations include lawyers and biomedical engineers.

You will also have to score at least 65 points on the point-based immigration system as well as attain a level of competent English.

Which means a minimum of 6.0 for your overall IELTS score and a 6.0 in every skill.

3. Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)

This visa authorises you as an international higher education graduate to work, study and live in Australia, with post-study work rights that allow you to stay on to work after you complete your studies. The Australian government has extended post-study work rights from 1 July 2023 for eligible graduates:

  • 4 years for selected bachelor’s degrees (up from 2 years previously)

  • 5 years for selected master’s degrees (up from 3 years previously)

  • 6 years for all doctoral degrees (up from 4 years previously)

You must be under 50 years of age, have held a student visa in the last 6 months and have a qualification relevant to an occupation in a list that includes biotechnologists, actuaries and chemical engineers.

You will have to attain an overall IELTS score of at least 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.0 for each of the four skills.

This will show the specific required level of English proficiency.

If you’re an international student working while studying, you are allowed to work up to 48 hours per fortnight (up from the previous 40 hours), from 1 July 2023.

4. Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489)

This visa covers two available specific pathways.

Extended stay pathway

This temporary visa is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia. There is no specific occupation requirement.

There is no current English language requirement for this pathway.

However, you must hold a subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa to be eligible.

Subsequent entry pathway

This visa is for a member who wants to live and work in regional Australia. There is no specific occupation requirement.

You will have to attain an overall IELTS score of at least 4.5 with a minimum score of 4.5 for each of the four skills.

This will show a level of functional English proficiency which is required.

In addition, this visa is for a member of the family unit of someone who holds a Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) or a subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa.

5. Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887)

This visa is for people who have lived and worked in specified areas of regional Australia on a previous, eligible visa. You must have lived for at least 2 years and worked full-time for at least 1 year in a specified regional area.

There is no specific occupation requirement.

You will have to attain an overall IELTS score of at least 4.5 with a minimum score of 4.5 for each of the four skills.

This will show that you have a functional level of English proficiency.

6. Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188)

This visa allows business owners and managers to conduct business and investment activity in Australia or undertake entrepreneurial activity in the country. It allows you to stay for up to 5 years.

There is no occupation requirement. However, you must operate a new or existing business in Australia for the Business Innovation stream.

For the investor stream, you must invest AUD1.5 million in an Australian state or territory.

Both streams require you to be nominated by an Australian government agency.

You will have to attain an overall IELTS score of at least 4.5 with a minimum score of 4.5 for each of the four skills.

This will show a level of functional English proficiency, which is required for this visa.

7. Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

This provisional visa is for skilled workers who want to live and work in Australia. You’ll be able to stay for 5 years. However, you’ll need to work in a role on the relevant skilled occupation list and pass the skills assessment for it as well.

These occupations include civil engineers and actuaries.

You will have to attain an overall IELTS score of at least 6.0 with a minimum score of 6.0 for each of the four skills.

This will show the level of competent English proficiency that is required for this visa.

Pursue your career and PR in Australia with IDP

Ready to embark on your journey to work and live in Australia? At IDP IELTS, we help students and professionals take the first step towards their goals by helping them sit the IELTS test.

Here’s how we can help you effectively prepare for your test day.

Book your IELTS test with IDP today