Planning to Immigrate to Canada?

One of the mandatory requirements under the Express Entry management system is the results of the language test, conducted by a designated language-testing agency approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). There are three IRCC-approved language test facilitators: CELPIP and IELTS for English and TEF for French.

It has been established that knowledge of one of the official languages of Canada plays a major role in the economic and social success and integration of immigrants to Canada.

Therefore, IRCC has made it mandatory that applicants to most immigration categories meet the minimum language requirements.  Language tests are also mandatory for applicants whose native language is English or French, as the test score results are the only way to allocate language points to the applicant.  Your language test results must be less than two years old on the day they are received by IRCC.

Language Requirements for Different Immigration Programs

The language requirements are different depending on which immigration program you are applying for, as the language skills you’ll need will differ depending on whether you are hoping to immigrate to Canada as a skilled professional, a tradesman, as a business person, or through a provincial nominee program.

An applicant needs to achieve the required score in every ability: reading, writing, listening and speaking, as an overall score is not enough for immigration purposes. If an applicant lacks 0.5 of a point in one ability, then it means that the applicant is not eligible and thus needs to improve their language skills.

Should I Choose IELTS or CELPIP? 

Your choice depends upon the availability of testing centers in your country.

IELTS has testing centers located in over 140 countries, while CELPIP has test centers at multiple locations across Canada, test sittings in Dubai, UAE, and New York, USA.  Please register as early as possible to avoid lengthy waiting times.

The Cost of Taking a Test

The fee may be about $300.00CAD per test; fees should be clarified with the specific test center where you intend to take the test.

Both facilitators offer free sample tests, upon completion of which you will be able to decide if you should register for a preparation course. The higher the score, the more points you will gain under the Comprehensive Ranking System under Express Entry. Because of this, you may find that you want to improve your language skills even if the practice tests show that you will probably pass.

English Language Test

CELPIP — Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program —

You must take the “CELPIP-General” test to support your immigration application.

IELTS — International English Language Testing System —

IELTS has test centers all over the globe.  You must take the “General Training” test.

French Language Test

TEF — Test d’évaluation de français  —

TEF is only available in French.

You must submit results from these TEF tests as proof of your French language skills:

  1. compréhension de l’écrit
  2. compréhension de l’orale
  3. expression écrite
  4. expression orale

Language Test for Students

Applicants planning to study in Canada are also required to meet the language requirements to successfully study at Canadian educational institutions.  Potential students from countries where English is not the primary language of instruction are required to provide an English language proficiency examination test result.  As a rule, tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of the submission of your application.

A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is usually required for the academic (NOT general) IELTS test.  Some universities require an overall score of 7.0. Therefore, you will need to contact the educational institution of your choice in order to clarify the language requirements.

If you intend to study English or French as a Second Language, preliminary test results may not be required, as you will be required to take a  test later to be placed in a group at your level.

Be prepared so that the best language test results can bring you closer to your dreams in Canada.