CIC News » 2012 » December » Proving Language Proficiency for Canadian Immigration in 2013




Proving Language Proficiency for Canadian Immigration in 2013

December, 2012

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has stated that the ability to communicate in one or both of Canada’s two official languages is key to finding employment in the country. To help ensure that prospective immigrants arrive in Canada with the language skills needed to succeed, many Canadian immigration programs require that applicants prove their ability to communicate in French or English by submitting standardized test scores.

In 2013, a number of popular immigration programs will require proof of language proficiency. Amongst them are:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Provincial Nominee Programs
  • The Canadian Experience Class

Assessing Proficiency

English and French language proficiency, for immigration purposes, is assessed according to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) system. The CLB system ranks language proficiency separately for each of the four language skills, namely: speaking, reading, writing, and listening.

CLB levels range from 1 to 12. Levels 1-4 are considered a ‘basic level of proficiency’; 5-8 are considered ‘intermediate’; and 9-12 are considered ‘advanced’.

Language Tests and Equivalencies

An individual’s proficiency is determined using results from a test issued by a designated organization. At present, the designated testing organizations are as follows:

  • English: There are two designated organizations for English language testing:
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS),
    • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

   CELPIP tests may only be taken within Canada, whereas IELTS tests are held in various locations around the world, including Canada

  • French: The only accepted French-language test for the Federal programs is the Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF)

Equivalencies with CLB benchmarks for the three designated tests above are determined as follows:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

 Canadian English Level Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF)

Individuals with knowledge of both English and French may choose to test in one or both languages. For many programs, additional points will be awarded for knowledge of a second official Canadian language.

Regardless of the language they choose, immigrants who arrive in Canada with sufficient language skills will find themselves well placed to take advantage of all the opportunities their new home has to offer.

To find out if you are eligible for one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment.

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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Naganaa January 4, 2013 at 7:38 am

Most a person have an employ offfer b4 applying for the federal skilled worker category

Kayode January 4, 2013 at 8:19 am

I did like to know for provincial nominee with a candidate that has has been educated from his primary school up to his university level in English,will he have to still provide a language proficiency documents. Also I have further my education with a post graduate degree (masters level) in the UK and at the moment I have worked in the UK for 5years, would I still have to provide the language proficiency documentation.
Thank you

lanre ogun January 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Dear David,
thank you for the information concerning the language proficiency requirement. However I want to suggest that there should be exceptions to the general rule. I write particularly about applicants with university and college degrees in which the language of instruction was english or french language.I suggest an exemption for these applicants and also those from countries in which english language is their official language.

charibelle legaje January 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Good day!
I would like to inquire regarding the Canadian Language benchmark. I took IELTS recently and got 7 in Writing, 7 in Listening, 7.5 in Speaking and 5.5 in Reading. Do I still qualify for Federal Skilled Worker application or I need to retake my IELTS.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
Thank you so much.

Mazin January 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Dear mr. David

Happy new year

Thank you for you advice , so can you inform me about the , semi skill worker need 5 overall score can you explain that please .

I looking forward to hearing from you as soon as possible

Best regard

ellen January 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Mr Cohen,

Hi Attorney! Happy New Year!Thank you very much for all the information’s and updates you send to me. I just want to ask on where we going to send our school credentials for the assessment? Another thing is that, do we really need to get the CLB 7 for each category, though we already reach the 67points?

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Thank you very much.

Francis January 5, 2013 at 7:30 am

Dear Mr David,
Happy new year to you and your family.Please can you let me know where I we can send our School credentials and Trades Certificate to,for some body who is wanting to go to Alberta beach (may be FORT MCMURRAY ) area through the Federal skilled Trade program? And has it been announced?Thanks

Hari Rana January 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

thanks for such a valuable information.

oladele Solomon Opaleye January 5, 2013 at 10:11 am

I am a masters degree holder in engineering field, my education from primary school to masters level was taught in English language and all my qualifications are in English Language and my country official Language is English. I will i still need to provide proof of English language proficiency as stipulated by the new regulation?

Dave January 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

Here we go again! More immigration from India (English is second offical language) and Philiphines and less from mainland China (unless you are rich and can have your village child educated in English). Less “cooks” and more technicians, etc.
My ancestors came to Canada two hundred years ago from Scotland in a Cattle boat and had no money. Who cares about English proficiency, we will get the second generation. You people had better start having babies or we will need more immigration not less. Or, say goodbye to Canada Pension, Old Age Pension and Canadian Medical Insurance.

Ana January 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

Hello, dear David Cohen.

Thank you for the information concerning the language proficiency requirement.

Best regard.

lhenz January 5, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Have a nice day!

Last december 2012 I already apply under AINP(Skilled work)
proud to say that my application was approved.then as of this time I will move to next step to apply for a
permanent residency…Do i still need to take the IELTS or CELPIP?

Thank you very much…

Olaposi Akintayo January 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

The requirement of evidence of English language proficiency for PhD holders from Canadian universities applying for permanent residency baffles me. This to me is an indictment of the quality of Canadian degree if someone who has attained the level of PhD is still required to show proof through IELTS and the like. This requirement needs to be scrapped. Am I getting something wrong here? please enlighten me

Mehjabeen Musharraf January 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

Dear Mr.Cohen,

I need to know that where should I send my school credentials for evaluation?

Hoping to hear from you soon


margany January 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm


chitra parajuli January 7, 2013 at 3:03 am

Dear David

I have completed toefl as an university requirement. But has not done any ielts test. I have good marks in toefl. Will this work or is ielts compulsory?

I am fresh university graduate. I do not have any working experiences. How can i get and find job?

sara January 7, 2013 at 5:40 am

this is a right way

sanam shah January 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Dear David

I have finished my toefl.Will its work or ielts is compulsary.

sam January 8, 2013 at 5:33 am

Can you please let me know when Educational credential assesment will open for FSWC. weather EOI will be there for 2013 FSWC or not?
thanks in advance.

Devis January 8, 2013 at 11:12 am

I heard that English language proficiency test is not required for those who were taught in English as medium of education in college level for applying PR in Canada. Is it right ?. Today I saw the same in one of the posting in this page too. My medium of of education is in English at University level ie after 10th grade. Do I require to take the test

James Ogunade January 9, 2013 at 8:33 am

Dear David,
English has been my language of instruction from elementary school to University level (up to postgraduate). Do still need to take an English test? Would there be an exemption for people in this category?

jerry guevarra January 9, 2013 at 10:30 am

Dear Mr.Cohen,
I took IELTS last year ago and my individual score are 5.0, 4.5, 4.0, 6.0 total of 5,0 overall score.I want to know that if this score is credited to work as a skilled worker?
thank you very much.

Farhan January 12, 2013 at 11:48 am

Dear David,
thank you for the information concerning the language proficiency requirement. However I want to suggest that there should be exceptions to the general rule. I write particularly about applicants with university and college degrees in which the medium of instruction was english language.let me know,if canadian university give me admission in Master program on letter of english proficiency which is given by my undergraduate university where the medium of instruction was English.Although,embassy of cic give me a student visa on this letter rather than IELTS (Academics).But in our country first language is not English.

simon taban January 13, 2013 at 4:58 am

Is it really necessary to take a language test when a candidate did all his studies in one of the two official language in Canada?

anne January 13, 2013 at 10:20 am

Would you still accept an application if it was returned to the applicant, from the CIC asking for the Original IELTS result but was not returned to CIC because the applicant married, chose to stay in Phils.for a while, had a family and now decided to pass the Original IELTS result, but way past it’s (IELTS) validity period? What would happen to the application?

jhen January 14, 2013 at 3:04 am

Hi Mr. cohen,
Thank you so much for the newsletters you are sending,, this really would help us to be knowledgeable about migrating in Canada.
May I know if there is expiration of the IELTS result? Lets say, i will take IELTS EXAMINATION and passed it but for instance i will not be able to pursue my migration the year i took the examination, shall i take again on the time i will really pursue it? Because I am currently living and working here in Greenland but planning to migrate there in Canada and take examination when I go vacation in the Philippines which is my home country just for preparation for my pursuance of migration to Canada in maybe two or three years.
Thank you again Mr. Cohen! More power and Godbless!

Brian January 20, 2013 at 5:01 pm

People, please do not get fooled by saying that they wll accept applications in May 2013. They will but they will keep it a few years an delete them eventually those files from Asia and middle east and only process the western Europe and US applications the same way they did to 85000 applications in 2012. Jason Kenney has no intention to let non-white people in. I hope this message gets published so people at least make a wise decision before counting on a country and a government which proven itself extremely unreliable.

seema January 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm

hey,what about the new cases..what they do who didn’t get any file no.even after one year…?still waiting.

Kari Dodson January 25, 2013 at 5:11 am

^ Students on development assistance scholarships such as AusAID, The Asian Development Bank or The World Bank enrolling in the Crawford School of Economics and Government (CSEG) require an overall IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in the remaining components of the IELTS to enter the Graduate Diploma. It is understood that concurrent English language support will be provided to those students by CSEG.

eyeni zabanda fabrice lugness January 31, 2013 at 4:52 am

l m very fine for my eligibility to canada;is sure now we re together live on this land think you very much

abdul January 31, 2013 at 5:57 am

Hi Brian, thanks for your concerns but think optimistic. I believe ministery of immigration is professional such and will not do any bias decision. LEts hope for the best.

abdul January 31, 2013 at 5:59 am

Hello David or forum, would some one let me know that if someone got 6bands of IELTS in all four competancies and attain CLB 7 , what will be his score for CLB 7 ? I guess its 28 scores in language ??? Please advise me calculation of IELTS score

nhel January 31, 2013 at 8:10 am

I am agree with you Brian.

Kanique January 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Guys… it doesn’t matter where your from or how much education you have. There is no way to get around taking the test to prove your language proficiency. Trust me, you don’t want any areas blank on your application.

Christapher Sylam February 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

What is prescribed for language proficiency requirement is absolutely right because many people with some years exposure to English in UK and English medium education find it hard to express them selves in English

Cathy February 20, 2013 at 8:56 am

Hi sir! I’m applying as immigrant under the category of provincial nominee program and my aunt said i have to take IELTS. what specific test will i take the General IELTS or the academic one? thank you and God bless you sir!

vijay February 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Hi ,
this is vijay. I have graduated in USA and currently in US . I am planning to apply for skilled worker program. Do I need to fulfill language requirements. I am basically from India. But in US since 2 years.

thank you

Santhosh Kumar February 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I have CLB 4 only. If I have valid job offer from canada can I applied to FS trade program as a machinist?

Priscy February 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I am planning for apply for canadian citizenship. I have not written IELTS. English has been my language of instruction from KG to University level (up to postgraduate). I have worked in the US for more than 10 years in IT and currently working in Canada for English speaking clients in the IT industry. Would a letter from my HR suffice? Or Do I still need to take an English test? Would there be an exemption for people in this category?

Nivine Abou Antoun March 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Dear David,

I would like to ask, for those who complete the Toffel Test would it be enough? especially for a person who doesn’t have a university degree. Or how can we apply for the language programs shown in the above article?

thank you,

Nivine Abou Antoun.

bart bernabe March 8, 2013 at 5:38 am

Hi, I got an IELTS score of L-9, W-7, S-7, R-5.5, I am aware that I need to retake the exam. Can I combine my IELTS results for my application? thank you

DHK March 13, 2013 at 1:36 am

As a full professor at a university in Canada the only reason I can see why the CIC requires that I take the English language test is it wants $250.

Jamil March 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

Dear Sir,

My IELTS result is as follows;



Valid till 3rd Sep , 2013

I just wanted to know that, is this result is ok for CLB-7 or not and how many points I will gain.

Thanks & warm Regards

natasha April 4, 2013 at 2:01 am

do US citizen also need to do a language test?medical exam?

Kayan April 14, 2013 at 9:42 am

IELTS academic is a better proof of English profeciency than the General one so why is it not accepted?

aamir shabbir April 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

i want to practice my ilets.

venkat April 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm

dear sir

iam welder iwant work canada how the process?

IELTS April 20, 2013 at 4:27 am

Thanks for providing this useful information.

shoaib April 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm

dear friends
my wife speaks fluent french, as principal applicant. can she process immigration to quebec. being husband i dont speak french, only english. can u assist on this

Muhammed Flaifil April 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Do I need to submit my original IELTS with my application, when applying for Canadian Immigration. If so, will I be getting it(Original IELTS document) back some day, or will it be never returned.

Mahen May 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Dear friends,
Once I finished one-year full-time course in a Canadian college, do I still need to provide required IELTS to register for a another course in a Canadian university because, by then my IELTS will be expired.


AE May 7, 2013 at 1:00 am

hi! do i need to take another benchmark for my citizenship application . I already took benchmark last october 2010? tnx

Muhammed Flaifil May 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I need to submit my original IELTS paper with my application for the skilled worker category, but the British Council refuse to give me another copy. Also CIC will not allow a third party to send the IELTS results to them. Any advise anyone.

Malak Irfan June 5, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Dear david,
I have got 6.0 overall band in how much points I can claim
For English proficiency in skill worker program for canada immigration.
I am waiting for reply.Thank you

davin June 7, 2013 at 5:50 am

Hello sir, I am Davin. My average score in IELTS is 6.0 Bands. Is it sufficient for Canada PR. Thank you Have. A great day.

shaista June 18, 2013 at 11:18 am

hi ,i just wanted to know that if somebdy having 5.0 band in reading can he/she eligible for FSW category ??

Lionel June 22, 2013 at 12:55 am

Hello, what’s the IELTS requirement of the bookkeeper job in Toronto now??
Another question is: if I got a IELTS results is required this time, next year it change the mark or need higher mark. Do I need to retake the IELTS?

Ted July 10, 2013 at 2:00 am

Hi, I have come to Canada for 6 years, I studied and graduated from Ryerson university in Ontario Canada, I am current holding full time job as Software Engineering. Recently, I took IELTS test, I got Listening 5.5, Reading 5.5, Writing 6.0, and Speaking 6.5. Can I qualified to apply as Canada Experience Class, since I read all the site, they requires all scores are 6.0, but I read on some lawyer’s website, they said there is an alternative way, therefore my score is still good to apply for Canada Experience Class.

Thanks in advance for reading and answering my question.

Allwyn Viegas July 11, 2013 at 4:44 am

My son has completed his PG (IBM course) in Canada and has 1 Year experience. His IELTS expired 2 years back. Does he need to do his IELTS exam again for applying for his PR.
Allwyn Viegas

Fahad Samad August 4, 2013 at 7:40 am

I did like to know for Fedral Skill Worker with a candidate that has has been educated from his primary school up to his university level in English,will he have to still provide a language proficiency documents. Also I have further my education with a post graduate degree (masters level) in the UK and on the top of that I have an expereince of 8-10 in Multinational companies which mode of correspondence is in English , would I still have to provide the language proficiency documentation.?
Thank you

Sam November 1, 2013 at 2:14 am

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have finished masters from USA, do I have to provide proof of english proficiency?

Thank you.

Michael EVes November 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm

The language proficiency test is just another way of exploiting immigrants! It makes my so angry, the test is now $299 and there is a 3 month waiting period to take it (in Toronto).

English is my first and only language, I am a British citizen born and educated in England, I moved to Canada 5 years ago and have also studied English at a Canadian college. Since graduating I have worked for the past 3 years and been able to communicate perfectly well.

Two Months ago I was ordered to resign from my teaching job and leave Canada because my application to extend my stay was rejected.

All my family are permanent residents of Canada, but If I want to stay here with my family I am expected to pay $299 to prove I speak my own language, except the earliest available date I can take this test is February 2014 and have until December 16th to leave or reapply for PR.

Antonella Cascione November 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I am Italian and I have been living in Canada since 2001 as Permanent Resident first and since 2011 as a Canadian Citizen .
I took the TOEFL already once in 2008 for academic purpose.
I am going to enroll in a professional course and they are asking for my english proficiency again since my Toefl expired a year ago.
My question is: Do I have to re-write the test for the rest of my life, every four years ,to demonstrate my english proficiency and pay every single time? Or there is a way that I can take a valid test once for all ?…How can be possible that my “english” expires while I am living and working in a country where the mother tongue IS English?

fadia January 12, 2014 at 2:16 am

I am almost ready to apply for my Canadian citizenship however I wanted to know is my university degree ( bachelors of science- from a Lebanese American university ) considered to be the proof of English?

appreciate your help


Sam January 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Hi everyone,
I applied for immigration a couple of years ago and provided solid proof of my English proficiency, e,g, provided my TOFEL score that was very high but more than 2 years old, two-year Canadian college diploma (language of instruction was English), and letters from my manager and my English professor (got A+ from her course) complementing on my English. I even had enough points to qualify with 0 English proficiency, but they still asked me to write the test!!! I’d suggest that you give it a try and send them documents/letters, but be prepared to write the tests as they seem to require that in most cases.

Sahil sharma January 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Do I need to do ielts for a student visa in canada if I am living in uk from the last 2 years and I wanna apply from uk

Edu Ukemenam April 16, 2015 at 10:32 am

I’ve the academic version of ielts. Heard it’s higher than the general training. Is it acceptable for Canadian immigration?

Shafi April 21, 2015 at 4:38 pm

I would like to inquire regarding the Canadian Language benchmark. I took IELTS recently and got 6.5 in Writing, 5.5 in Listening, 7.0 in Speaking and 5.5 in Reading. Do I still qualify for Federal Skilled Worker application or I need to retake my IELTS. Hoping to hear from you soon. Thank you so much.

quratulann April 24, 2015 at 6:00 pm

I have done phd in USA and I am currently teaching in one of the universities in USA. Do I still need language test before applying for skilled worked immigration.

chukky May 29, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Good day. please I wish to know if any university in Canada will accept an ielts score of 6.0 to run for a master programme on special education,ie speaking 6.0,writing 6.5,reading 5.0 and listening 5.5.thank you

Shweta Manandhar June 15, 2015 at 8:52 am

I resided in United States for 16 years. I got both of undergrad and graduate degree from the States and now I’m planning to apply for the Canadian Express Entry visa. I would like to know if I still need to give IELTS exam or it will be waived?


Sarah June 28, 2015 at 8:18 pm

I wanted to inquire about English proficiency test waiver if I hold a master degree from the US and passed TOEFL iBT with 117 score . I also hold a medical degree where instruction language was English and pursuing a PhD in US. Do I still need to take IELTS?

dominador velasco November 7, 2015 at 6:38 pm

Hi, I am Engineer graduate from the Philippines.. Our language in university is english. If my university issued certificate that we use english. Is this enough to consider my english proficiency? Do i need to take IELTS exam?
Further, our language use in muscat, Oman is english.


Ramu January 29, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Hi Dear sir / madam I am a cook currently I am working bitiscolombiya canada so I want apply bc pnp program (permanent resident ) so it is required English test thank you

Ahmed June 19, 2016 at 8:46 pm

I have received an ITA and I am about to submit permanent residence application electronically. My IELTS score is valid for one and half months more. Do I need to re-take the IELTS exam before submitting the application of permanent residence or should I submit the application with one month valid IELTS score.

We welcome your comments on the news article above. However, we do not respond to specific questions in this space. If you have a question, you may Contact Us If you want to know if you qualify for Canadian immigration, you may complete our Free Assessment