A major part of our work at Highway IELTS is IELTS for the construction industry. It’s no secret that South Africans are emigrating at fairly high rates. Australia and New Zealand remain the most popular destination for South Africans leaving the country. One of the advantages that South Africans have is that the rest of the world tends to perceive them as being dynamic and energetic people, open to new challenges. This effect is probably even more pronounced among people who work in the construction industry. These professions typically require great skill, leadership and a hands-on approach to life.
This post will be useful to you if you work in this industry. It deals mostly with emigration from South Africa to either Australia or New Zealand. This includes architects, civil engineers, builders, contracts managers/foremen and quantity surveyors. It is also relevant to artisans and tradesmen whose work relates to construction. We will describe the journey these people take in leaving South Africa. We will also focus on the language requirements and explain why it’s so important that you achieve the highest possible IELTS score.
The Good News: Your Skills are in Demand
Thankfully, the construction industry and Australia and New Zealand continues to require skilled immigration. The Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) publishes a comprehensive list of in-demand skills and qualifications for the region. You can also search the skills shortage portal to get an idea of how valuable your skills and experience are. If you are in the construction industry, you are in a better position than most. This Australian list and this New Zealand one demonstrate this.
The first step you should take is to investigate whether your skills are on these lists. Then, you need to consult with experts in order to chart the safest, most cost-effective route from Johannesburg to Sydney.
South Africans Emigrating: The Challenge of IELTS
For all of these advantages, the fact remains that South Africans emigrating to New Zealand or Australia need to clear IELTS. For many people, this is an afterthought. All too often, people contact us after repeatedly failing to get the scores they need. As we discussed here, costs begin to mount. In addition to this, some requirements for visas and residency permits come with time limits attached. Therefore, getting stuck on IELTS can (and does) spell disaster for people who are falling short. Candidates find themselves in the horrible position of watching other pieces of documentation lapse while they are still trying to clear IELTS.
Isn’t it Just an English Test?
Many people have a dismissive attitude towards IELTS. Frequently, a failure to research and prepare results in a failure to score high enough for a skills visa. It’s not uncommon for people to perceive IELTS as “just an English test”.
In one very real sense, this is true. IELTS is nothing other than a test of English language skills. It does not test your knowledge of the world or even of your own field of expertise. However, going into IELTS “blind”, without knowing what to expect, can be disastrous. This is because the way you communicate in your daily or professional life might not align with the way that IELTS expects. We dealt with this issue in relation to people in the medical field here, but it is equally applicable to people who work in construction and allied fields. Communication in these environments tends to be factual, succinct, to the point, often with a dose of highly specialized technical language. It’s imperative that you get used to writing and reading in a different way in order to tackle IELTS.
Not all Band Scores are Equal
Another factor to consider is the way that your visa application is assessed and evaluated. While it may be true that having skills and experience in the construction industry makes you well-placed for immigration, this is a highly competitive market. People from all over the world are seeking to move to Australia and New Zealand, some of them with similar skills profiles to yours. For this reason, countries with high immigration tend to use a points-based system for regulating this market. This means that every aspect of your life has an effect on the strength of your application, even down to your age. Similarly, because IELTS is not a pass/fail test, but a scale (1-9), the score you get will directly affect your application. Variations in your IELTS band score can make a difference of up to 20 points.
Furthermore, there are various types of IELTS test. Some of these have different requirements. Some are more challenging than others, so it’s important that you know exactly which type of IELTS exam you need.
You Need a Reputable Agent
As you can see, there is nothing straightforward about this process. Once you have decided to emigrate to a new country, you have work to do. You need to maximize your chances of success. The high rates of South African emigration are a staple of news media. However, the large number of people who intend to emigrate, but fail to do so, is a tragic story that goes largely untold.
As South Africa’s leading IELTS preparation agency, Highway IELTS trains people from almost every profession, national background and walk of life. This gives us a unique insight into the pitfalls of the emigration process. Through our partnered agencies and industry experts, we have gained a comprehensive overview of how emigrating from South Africa works. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can manage alone. Fortunately, the highly competitive nature of the industry means that agencies have an incentive to offer you a better deal than their rivals. If you are not sure of what your next step should be, or you simply need some advice, get in touch and we will be happy to help.