A number of Commonwealth countries use IELTS scores as a proof of prospective immigrants' competence in English.
Australia's immigration authorities have used IELTS to assess English proficiency of prospective migrants since May 1998, when this test replaced the access: test that had been previously used.
Presently, to demonstrate the "proficient" level of English, applicants for Australia's Independent Migrant visa (permanent residence) must either score at least 7 on each of the modules of IELTS, or score at least "B" on Australia's Occupational English Test.
One can receive a "partial credit" (fewer points on the point test that determines one's eligibility for the migrant's visa) for having merely a "competent" level of English, which requires scoring at least 6 on each of the modules of IELTS. Prospective migrants who are citizens of the majority-English-speaking countries (United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, or Republic of Ireland) may choose to automatically receive the credit for the "competent" level of English merely by virtue of their citizenship, without taking tests; however, if they desire to show the "proficient" level (e.g. in order to obtain a sufficiently high overall score on the migration point test) they still must take the IELTS or OET.
New Zealand has used the IELTS test since 1995. Initially, level 5 scores in each of the four modules were required of the prospective applicants; those who could not achieve required scores could pay a NZ$20,000 fee instead, which would be fully or partially refunded later if the migrant were able to successfully take the test within a certain period (3 to 12 months) after his or her arrival to the country. A few years later, the policy was changed: the fee was reduced, and, instead of being potentially refundable, it became treated as a "pre-purchase" of post-arrival ESL tuition.
Presently, applicants desiring to achieve permanent residence in New Zealand via the "Entrepreneur Category" migration program must prove a "reasonable" level of competence in English. Unless the applicant has studied and/or work for a sufficiently long period in New Zealand or other English-speaking countries, this normally should be demonstrated by achieving the overall band of 6.5 on the IELTS.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada uses the results of IELTS and/or TEF as a conclusive evidence of one's ability to communicate in English and/or French. For the purposes of the skill-based immigration points test, one receives separate points based on his or her performance on each of the four modules (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) or IELTS; the score of 6.5 on a particular IELTS module is sufficient to earn the maximum points for this particular capacity, except for the listening module, which requires the score of 7.5 to earn the maximum points.
The CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) test scores are mentioned by the Canadian immigration application forms as an alternative to IELTS.
Under the UK's "Points Based System Tier 1" (General Migrant) programme, applicants can receive 10 points for their English language qualification if it is deemed "equivalent to the Council of Europe's Common European Framework for Language Learning level C1", which is said to approximately equivalent to IELTS level 6.5, or GCSE Grade C. Having had earned a university degree from an English-medium institution is an acceptable alternative proof of one's English level.