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All You Need to Know about IELTS for Skilled Migration From Kenya

IELTS is an English proficiency test that helps visa applicants develop the language skills they need to successfully settle in new countries.

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IELTS is the world’s most popular English test for people who want to live, work or study in another country.

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System in full, is used to prove applicants’ level of English in all four linguistic skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking, before getting a visa to the respective countries they are applying to visit for studies or work.

This English proficiency test helps these visa applicants develop the language skills they need to settle successfully in new countries.

Before meeting Maggie Muchira, a professional travel counsellor, I used to think that the IELTS exams for those applicants wishing to study abroad and those wanting to immigrate for work were similar until she stated the difference between the two, saying that the latter requires a special one called IELTS for skilled migration, which we’ll look at below:

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For its part, skilled migration is the movement of people in a specified professional or academic field or with special expertise who have a college degree or higher or the equivalent in work experience.

What is IELTS for skilled migration?

IELTS consultancies
Maggie Muchira is an experienced travel consultant in Kenya.

“The IELTS for skilled migration are the IELTS tests done for employment-based immigrant visa application process. It differs from the general IELTS for study abroad because it is a point system, and the higher your points, the better your chances of being picked faster,” says Madam Maggie, who has lived and worked in Australia for 15 years up to getting Australian citizenship.

According to her, even though both the IELTS tests are out of nine points, IELTS for skilled migration requires one to get 7.5 and above but preferably 8.5/9 for the guaranteed work visa application process, unlike for studies in which a score of 6.5 is enough to get admissions at the universities and colleges abroad.

Madam Maggie advises that it is better to do IELTS for skilled migration than the normal one when applying for jobs abroad because, for countries like Canada, once the applicant is there as a skilled migrant, they qualify to be citizens after three years.

How do you go to Canada from Kenya as a skilled immigrant?

“Skilled migration means you are relocating as a permanent resident. In three years, like in Canada, you are eligible for a passport. The benefits are enormous because you can move with your family, spouse and kids.

“Also, apart from being in a country with better working opportunities, skilled immigrants to Canada get free healthcare, and education is free up to high school for the children,” she adds.

On how to apply for an employment-based immigrant visa, Madam Maggie says IELTS is one of the first steps applicants must pass as the requirements to do the tests determine whether one qualifies or not.

To qualify for a Canadian skilled worker visa as a Kenyan, you must:

* Have a diploma but preferably a degree or post-graduate from a recognized university
* You must have a minimum of 3-6 years of full-time, paid skilled work experience through a bank for verification
* Do a job on the list of eligible occupations
* Be paid a minimum salary – how much depends on the type of work you do
* Be at least aged 45 and below

“The younger the better. For most countries, generally, over 44 years is almost impossible to place you for skilled migration,” says Madam Maggie.

Where to take the IELTS exam for skilled migration in Kenya?

There are a few IELTS test centres for skilled migration in Kenya. The most reputable one, according to student reviews, is KCL, formerly Be You, an official British Council-approved IELTS Test Center in Nairobi and Eldoret, offering you the choice of taking IELTS on computer or IELTS on Paper with your own personal tutor.


To pass the IELTS test for skilled migration and be eligible for a work visa, Madam Maggie insists on having an overall score of 7.5 or an 8.5 band score.

“You must demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency if you are applying for skilled migration to Canada and even Australia. That is why it is advisable to book and do your exams with KCL because of one-on-one coaching to identify the weak areas of candidates, especially in writing, which many have problems with.”

KCL offices are located on the 5th floor of Unga House in Westlands, Nairobi and are on the 9th floor of KVDA Plaza in Eldoret. To enquire about upcoming test dates at their test centre and more about IELTS for skilled migration, their telephone number is 0748 803442.

Is IELTS for skilled migration to Canada the same as for Australia?

Yes, the IELTS examinations are similar. However, since every country sets its rules of entry by establishing visa categories and eligibility criteria for those categories, there are defined ways in which data is to be collected in every step of stipulated application processes, and the cost also varies.

Canada is more affordable compared to Australia when it comes to skilled migration. It will cost around Ksh900,000 for the whole process for the main applicant, while Australia can cost up to Ksh2 million. This includes everything up to receiving the visa and is paid in four separate instalments, explains Madam Maggie.

The stages for Australia are from paying around Ksh30,000 agency fees to start the application, parting with Ksh421,000 to credentials assessment body for academic certificate verifications and another Ksh73,000, varying with the profession of the applicant, to get a unique identifier number, then Ksh587,000 until getting the work visa.

Check this pictogram with summarised steps from KCL;

IELTS in Kenya

For Canada, moving with a spouse and a child will cost an additional Ksh200K and Ksh28,000, respectively, and an average of Ksh234K and Ksh117K, in that order, for Australia, making its employment-based immigrant visas more expensive.

> All Steps for Moving From Kenya to UK for Studies

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JUSTUS KIPRONOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Justus Kiprono is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. He tracks Capital Markets and economic trends, infrastructure reform, government spending, and the financial impacts of state decision-making nationwide. You can reach him: [email protected]
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