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Get your English skills certified

For many immigrants, simply speaking English well is not enough. Universities, employers and immigration authorities all require proof of your skill level. Getting certified is simply a matter of passing an exam but there are dozens to choose from. Which exam should you take? What score is a good one? As an expert visa consultancy, MoreVisas can advise.

Do I need to take an exam?

Most English speaking countries require that you prove that your English is of a suitable standard in order to grant a work permit. In addition, educational institutions have their own standards. Depending on the university or college you wish to study with, you may find that your course has a higher language requirement than your visa. By choosing an appropriate exam and passing with the higher grade, you can meet the acceptance criteria for both at once. 

MoreVisas are expert student visa consultants and we recognise that each situation is different. Our staff can provide individual advice, tailored to your particular circumstances. In general, English is only a requirement for visas in countries where English is an official language.

Exemption due to existing qualifications

If you have studied at a higher level (usually a bachelor's degree or higher) in a country which is English speaking, such as the USA, this is usually considered proof that your English is of high quality. In many cases, study in India, even in English, is not considered sufficient and you must pass the exam.

How long is the exam valid?

For most visa applications and educational opportunities you must have taken the exam within 2-3 years of making the application.

Choosing your exam body

If you have not yet narrowed your choices down as to where you want to work or study, you can still begin preparations for proving your English language skills. The most commonly recognised exam boards are:

      IELTS. This is the International English Language Testing System and is widely recognised, including by the UK, Canada and the USA.

      TOEFL. This is the Test of English as a Foreign Language and is widely recognised, including by UK and US universities. 

In each case, exams and training courses are widely available in India. 

UK student visa and work visa

For a UK student visa, you must prove that either:

      You meet CEFR level B2

      You meet CEFR level B1 and will undertake an English course which will raise you to level B2

For a UK work visa you must usually prove that you have CEFR level B2. 

The CEFR is not a specific exam, but is a measure of proficiency against which other exams are judged. For a UK student visa, you should check which exam your institution requires. If no advice is given, then the IELTS is a good choice as it is accepted by the UK visa agency. IELTS level 5.5 is understood to be equivalent to B2, with IELTS 4.0 being equivalent to B1.

Work or study in the USA

The requirements for international students who wish to study in the USA depend largely on the institution. A test of English not a formal requirement of the visa process, but it may be required in some cases. In addition, to a test like TOEFL or IELTS, many university courses will require further specific aptitude tests as part of their application process. These will normally include an English language element and are usually rigorous.

Study or work in Canada

Canada, like the UK, accepts the IELTS. They require a level 6.0 or higher and the Canadian immigration points system places a higher value on greater proficiency. It is also possible to take the CELPIP, a specific test of English used only by Canada.

Work or study in Australia

The Australia immigration authorities accept the TOEFL, the Pearson Test of English and the CAE (known as the Cambridge English: Advanced or the Certificate in Advanced English). An IELTS score above 4.0 will earn you Australia immigration points if you are applying for a work visa. For Australia student visas, the key factor will be the institution's requirements, but you should expect to need an IELTS of 5.0 or higher. 

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Disclaimer - MoreVisas immigration service Pvt.Ltd. does not offer consulting on student visas/ Overseas jobs/work permits/international or domestic placements.
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