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Proving Language Proficiency for Canadian Immigration in 2013

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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.