You are required to sit for a language test if you want to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident. Not all language tests are accepted for Canadian immigration as there are various language tests out there, therefore you need to find out which language test you are expected to take, and they are:
Immigrating to Canada
Normally, if you are applying for any economic immigration program, you need proof of language demonstrated by an approved language test either in English or French.
In fact, all programs aligned with Express Entry, including Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) require language tests, even Quebec’s immigration streams for workers demand evidence of language proficiency as well.
Surprisingly, you need to take a test even if English is your first language, you need to take a test. It doesn’t matter if you write like a Guardian columnist and your accent may rival the Queen’s, but all the government needs is a piece of paper to confirm it. Every test has its own scoring system, as for Canada, they use the Canadian Language Benchmark levels, also known as CLBs, to compare results from various tests and offer a scoring system that is unified.
Which test do I take?
Your immigration program will determine the type of test you ought to take and the scores you’ll need to achieve. Nevertheless, irrespective of the program you’re applying to, test results must be valid for those below two years old when you submit your application.
What are the approved language tests for Express Entry?
Candidates in the Express Entry pool are mandated to keep a valid language test in their profile, this means that if your test lapses (turns two years old) before you submit your final application for permanent residence, you are expected to sit for another one.
Your profile will be disqualified if your language test results expire while you’re still in the Express Entry pool, so you have to submit new results to avoid this.
Furthermore, Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades are the three various immigration programs that are a part of the Express Entry system, and to be eligible for any of them, there is a minimum score required.
You can improve your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score by improving your score on a language test. This is why candidates and their spouses in the Express Entry pool can earn points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for their language level.
- The first approved test is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General which is more globally available and acceptable (do not take the IELTS Academic test because it’s not accepted, even if it sounds more impressive)
- The second equally approved test is the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General.
- TEF Canada
- TCF Canada
The aforementioned tests are also accepted as verification of language proficiency for many of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), and if you are applying through the start-up visa program, or as a self-employed worker.
Approved language tests for Quebec immigration
The Quebec Skilled Worker Program, the Quebec Experience Program, and Quebec business immigration are the three major immigration routes for workers in the french-speaking province of Quebec, and just like the former, each of these routes has separate requirements as regards to language, so make sure you review the requirements for the program of your choice.
- Candidates with both English and French language test results are awarded points in the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSW).
- The second program which is the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) requires French language proficiency and has no English requirements. As a PEQ candidate, a few options have been provided for you to prove your French abilities. Please note that language tests are just one option, however, PEQ candidates can also take specific French courses or complete education in French.
- Quebec’s business immigration program differs depending on if you apply as an investor, as a self-employed person, or an entrepreneur.
According to Canadian immigration standards, Quebec accepts language test results that are below two years old at the time of application.
Getting ready for your Canadian language test
It is ideal to get ready for your language test even if English is your first language. Of course, you will take time to prepare if English is your second or third language.
A lot of things can get you tensed ranging from the ways of testing, the type of questions to evaluate various language skills, the tension in the exam room – all these may be unfamiliar to you especially if you fall under the category of people that haven’t sat for an exam since high school or college.
Most times, a language test is what differentiates the successful candidate from an unsuccessful one especially in Canada’s competitive immigration systems, such as Express Entry. As you have seen, It has a huge impact, therefore, make sure you come prepared.
Interestingly, there is a wide range of tools and sample tests online to assist you, some of them are free for a specific duration, for practice questions, you can also check out the IELTS website.
Language tests necessary for studying in Canada
You may need to sit for a language test as part of your college or university application if you intend to study in Canada as an international student in the future. The requirements greatly vary between institutions and depending on the situation of each student.
Applying for Canadian citizenship
If you have gotten to this stage, we will like to congratulate you at this point, however, you are required to prove you have “enough” knowledge of English or French, and it may interest you to know that at this point, the requirements are much more relaxed.
In addition to this, applicants are required to prove a language level of CLB 4 in either English or French language, and this can be achieved by:
- Presenting the results obtained from an IRCC-approved third-party test, or,
- Presenting evidence obtained from specific government-funded language training programs, or,
- Presenting evidence that shows that you have completed secondary or post-secondary education in either English or French, in Canada or abroad.
Also, your language level can be evaluated via discussions during meetings by Immigration officers.
Furthermore, if you applied via the Federal Skilled Worker or Canadian Experience Classes, or the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, you can make use of the test you submitted for your permanent resident application.
In conclusion, you know the test you need now, it’s time for you to go get it. With the information you have gotten from this article, coupled with adequate preparation, you are sure to excel in your language test, and most probably be a step away from becoming a permanent resident.