What Are the Requirements For Canada IELTS?

The Express Entry Program has made immigration to Canada a seemingly smooth adventure and a more viable option because it is known to be the fastest immigration pathway for Canada PR Visa. 

Nevertheless, there are certain prerequisites to be accomplished if you want smooth immigration in the country and the first step in achieving this is to ensure you land a very high score in language proficiency which is understood to be an important criterion.

To prove your proficiency in English for Canada immigration, you have to sit for the IELTS examination. 

For a start, you must know that IELTS (International English Language Test System) is an internationally recognized test to ascertain proficiency in English Language and this test is a prerequisite for immigrating into Canada and is accepted by the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The IELTS is managed jointly by the Cambridge Assessment English,  British Council, and IDP. Furthermore, they employ the use of a nine-band scale to classify levels of proficiency, beginning from the least which is known as Non-user (Band Score 1) to the professional (Band Score 9).

Under the IELTS, there are two available categories which are: 

  • Academic: People applying for higher education or professional registration are classified under this category.
  • General Training: People who are immigrating to Canada, the UK, and Australia are classified under this category.

The language proficiency of the candidate is judged based on four criteria which include; Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. The exam is organized in such a way that on the day of the examination, the Reading, Listening, and Writing sections must be completed without giving any intervals between them. But, the Speaking section can be completed within a week before the test or after the other tests.

Under the listening test, the candidate is expected to listen to four recordings and then provide answers to the series of questions asked within 30 minutes which is the maximum duration.


As for the reading test, there are about 40 questions that were created to test the reading skills of the candidate. The reading skills range from reading for main ideas, gist, skimming, ability to understand a logical argument, and comprehending the opinions, attitudes, and purpose of the writer. In this section, the time duration is one hour (60 minutes).

The writing section is a bit detailed because you will be provided with two topics of general interest which are.

  • You will be presented with a situation where you will be required to write a letter either asking for information or explaining the situation.
  • You will be required to write an essay responding to either an argument, a problem, or your point of view.

The time duration for this section is one hour (60 minutes).

Finally, in the speaking section, your spoken English will be assessed and the time duration is 11-14 minutes.

What is the IELTS Score for Canada PR Visa?

As stated earlier, the Express entry program happens to be the fastest immigration pathway for Canada PR Visa and it is an application system for three major federal immigration programs which are:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

For you to be qualified for a Permanent Resident visa as a skilled worker, you must score at least 6 per band because it is the least band requirement for Canada in IELTS or CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) level 7.

Below is the least IELTS score required under the Express Entry program for each immigration program.

For the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Please note that you are awarded maximum points if you can get CLB 10 or higher – 34, and 32 (if you are married).

Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) LevelPoints per bandPoints for ListeningPoints for ReadingPoints for SpeakingPoints for Writing
4 points6.0-7.0 points6.0 points6.0 points6.0 points
85 points7.5 points6.5 points6.5 points6.5 points
96 points8.0 points7.0 points7.0 points7.0 points
10 or higher6 points8.5-9.0 points8.0-9.0 points7.5-9.0 points7.5-9.0 points

If English is your second official language, you can score the highest points if:

CLB LevelPoints per bandPoints for ListeningPoints for ReadingPoints for SpeakingPoints for Writing
5 or above4 points5.0-9.0 points4.0-9.0 points5.0-9.0 points4.0-9.0 points

For the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The table below shows the least IELTS per band score for various Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels:

CLB LevelPoints for ListeningPoints for ReadingPoints for SpeakingPoints for Writing
44.5 points3.54.0 points4.0 points
55.0 points4.05.0 points5.0 points
65.5 points5.05.5 points5.5 points
76.0 points6.06.0 points6.0 points
87.5 points6.5 points6.5 points6.5 points
98.0 points7.0 points7.0 points7.0 points
10 or above8.5-9.0 points8.0-9.0 points7.5-9.0 points7.5-9.0 points

For the Canadian Experience Class (CEC);

Please note that at least CLB level 7 is required if your profession is under NOC Skill level A, while for NOC Skill level B, at least CLB level 5 is required. The table below outlines various CLB levels with IELTS scores allotted to them:

National Occupational Classification (NOC)  Skill levelCLB LevelPoints for ListeningPoints for ReadingPoints for SpeakingPoints for Writing
A10 and above8.5-9.0 points8.0-9.0 points7.5-9.0 points7.5-9.0 points
A98.0 points7.0 points7.0 points7.0 points
A87.5 points6.5 points6.5 points6.5 points
A76.0 points6.0 points6.0 points6.0 points
B65.5 points5.0 points5.5 points5.5 points
B55.0 points4.0 points5.0 points5.0 points

With a low IELTS score, how can I apply for Canada PR?

Under the Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC), there are more than 80 immigration programs that are aimed at assisting immigrants to immigrate to Canada. We have already discussed about the Express Entry program is one of the immigration programs but high Language proficiency requirements are needed if you must apply for a Canada PR Visa.

There are so many other immigration programs that have low IELTS score requirements to apply for Canada Permanent Residence Visa and one of such immigration programs is known as Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). They are listed below;

  • Alberta Immigration Nominee Program (AINP) and the least IELTS requirement is 4.5
  • Saskatchewan Immigration  Nominee Program (SINP) and the least IELTS requirement is 4.5
  • Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) and the least IELTS requirement is 4.5

Aside from the aforementioned Provincial Nominee Programs, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)  with CLB level 5 and Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) are among some of the other immigration programs for Canada PR Visa with low IELTS scores.

Are There Tips and Tricks on How to score high in IELTS?

We have listed below some of the major tips and tricks on how to obtain your desired results in the IELTS;

The basic and most successful tip is for you to study hard. This tip is majorly for English speakers who may be complacent about the examination. What many people do not know is that the IELTS is a strange exam especially when it comes to the listening section.

Secondly, you must practice frequently especially in the listening section, do not at any point feel relaxed. Why we keep repeating the listening part is that during the examination, you will hear the recording just once and there is no room for rewinding or asking anyone to replay it for you.

Thirdly, give no room for distraction and be fully focused on the examination day. You have to look your best on that day and these are the major tips you must take care of for each section: 

Speaking Section

Try as much as possible to be comfortable and answer the questions as though you are hanging out with your colleagues. Employ the use of engaging words that conveys emotions rather than giving short statements or one-word answers. Also, speak consistently and do not bother about your accent, you are good as long as it is clear.

Writing Section

As we have stated earlier, there are 2 tasks for this part, and the answers require a minimum of 150 to 250 words, so, if you’re not a good writer, you need to practice before exam day. Furthermore, do not write either less than the required number of words or write nonsense to meet up with the required number of words. 

Please, ensure that what you are writing is easy to read and create grammatically consistent paragraphs. In summary, do not make your work boring and you can have an idea of the number of words written based on the number of words you write on a line.

Reading Section

The trick in this section is to quickly go through the text and then again, but this time around, more slowly to understand what is being asked, then proceed to answer the questions. It is safe to say that this is the easiest part because the questions are in the same order as the answers in the text.

Listening Section

Here you do not need any form of distraction. Another trick is to write down the word immediately you hear it and for anyone you miss, do not bother thinking about it, keep listening because if you don’t, you will likely miss the next 3 words and lose even more points.

We can call this an expository article because we have successfully given out every information you need concerning the IELTS.

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