Language Testing—Skilled immigrants (Express Entry)

To apply for almost any category of economic immigration to Canada, language testing is important.

The version of the test you must take and the score you must obtain is determined by the program for which you are applying.

IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF?

You must provide language test results from an authorized organization for Canadian immigration.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program are the two authorized English test providers (CELPIP).

You must take the Test d’évaluation de Français if you want to take your language test in French (TEF).

The IRCC has no preferred test. Because the results of all three tests are equal, you can take whichever test is more convenient for you.

To be valid, the results of any language test must be from within the last two years (24 months).

IELTS, CELPIP, and TEF all assign a score to each of four language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Did You Know That?

Because Canada is a bilingual country, submitting test results in both official languages, English and French, may increase your eligibility. You do not, however, need to be bilingual to immigrate to Canada.

IELTS

IELTS is a globally recognized English proficiency test. Because there are many testing centers around the world, we usually recommend that our clients take the IELTS for their immigration file and provide them with IELTS training.

IELTS is divided into two categories: General Training and Academic. You should take the IELTS – General Training for Canadian immigration.

IELTS scores include a score for each language ability as well as an overall band score that averages your results across all abilities. Your overall band score is irrelevant for Canadian immigration purposes.

TEF

You must take the TEF if you are a native French speaker or would prefer to submit language test results demonstrating French proficiency.

TEFs are classified into two types: TEF and TEFAQ. We usually advise you to take the TEF.

The TEFAQ can only be used for Quebec immigration, whereas the TEF can be used for both Quebec and federal immigration.

CELPIP

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada created CELPIP (IRCC). Unlike the IELTS, which assesses international English proficiency, the CELPIP was created to assess Canadian English, which combines elements of British and American English as well as Canadian accents.

The General Test and the General LS Test are the two CELPIP test types. The CELPIP – General Test is required for immigration.

Originally only available in Canada, the CELPIP is now available internationally, with test centers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, India, China, and the United States.

You must demonstrate your language abilities by passing an approved language test. To accomplish this, You must also:

  • Schedule your test with an IRCC-approved agency and pay the fees.
  • Fill out your Express Entry profile with the test results (and the Personal Information Number, if the system asks for it)
  • If you are invited to apply, include the results with your application. We will not process your application if you do not include it.

Do not request that your language test results be emailed to you. Send your results along with your entire application. Keep your original test in a safe place in case we need it later.

Language Tests We Accept

English 

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program 
  •  We do not permit the General-LS test
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System 
  • We do not permit the Academic option.

French

  • TEF Canada: French evaluation test, including writing comprehension
  • understanding of written oral expression
  • oral expression
  • TCF Canada: French proficiency test, including writing comprehension
  • oral expression is written expression oral expression

What Will Happen Next?

Based on your test results, determine your language level in:

  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 
  • Canadian linguistic proficiency levels (NCLC)

We will use the test results to verify your language abilities.

Your test results must be current (within the last two years) when you:

  • finish your Express Entry profile 
  • apply for permanent residency

The Express Entry profile is only valid for a year. Check that the results of your language tests are valid for the same period.

If your test results are about to expire, you should retake the test and update your Express Entry profile with the new results.

For People With A Physical Or Mental Disability;

If you are unable to complete one or more sections of your language test due to a disability, you must do the following:

  • To determine your score for the abilities you were unable to complete, use the Comprehensive Ranking System – Language calculator tool. 
  • Enter averaged scores based on those you completed.

The Comprehensive Ranking System – Language calculator and the Comprehensive Ranking System tool are not the same thing.

If you have been invited to apply for permanent residence, you must do so.

  • Make sure your language test results are still valid when you apply.

If you haven’t been invited to apply for permanent residence, you should double-check that your results are valid for the remainder of your time in the pool.

If your results will expire before you can apply, you should do the following:

  • Be tested again or 
  • Apply before your test results expire, or
  • Decline the invitation and return to the pool for future consideration

If you apply for permanent residence with expired language test results, we will deny your application.

Did you know that?

The Canadian government increased the number of points awarded to Express Entry candidates with strong French proficiency in October 2020.

If you want to improve your Express Entry pool ranking, doing well on one of Canada’s accepted French language exams can significantly boost your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

What Grade Do I Require?

The majority of Canadian economic immigration programs have minimum language requirements, but not all of them are the same.

The score you need will be determined by the program to which you are applying.

Many programs use point systems in addition to minimum requirements. In addition to language proficiency, points may be awarded for age, work experience, and education.

The language test score required to qualify may differ from the minimum requirement depending on your profile.

Conclusion 

My advice is to give it your all. If you are unhappy with your results, you can retake the test to try to improve them.

The key point to remember is that these are tests. Even if you are confident in your ability to speak English or French, you should prepare by studying and taking practice tests.

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