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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.



87 thoughts on “Proving Language Proficiency for Canadian Immigration in 2013

  1. Avatar

    My guess is that you are going to get a lot of questions like this over the coming months, but my wife and I have Masters degrees in the US and speak/read English very well (my wife is a teacher and I am an engineer) and we have been working for the past 20 years here. Do we still need to take the IELTS or CELPIP tests? If so, how do we know which employers in Canada accept those results?

  2. Avatar

    Hi all,

    My husband and I have both US MBAs and also work in the US. Do we still need to take the IELTS test?

  3. Avatar
    paramjit singh

    i like to study in canada
    my melts score is 5.0
    any school will give me admission
    heve bank balance 25000 us dollars
    i m international student from india

  4. Avatar
    Nilesh Khare

    Hello. I am an Indian Citizen. I did my Ph D in management in the USA and now teach here in the US. Do I still need to take IELTS test ? I do have old TOEFL score though from 1999. Would that work?

    Many Thanks,


  5. Avatar
    Hozifa Salama

    I have been living and working in USA for 11 years, do I still need to take the language test??

  6. Avatar

    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.

  7. Avatar

    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

  8. Avatar
    dominador velasco

    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.


  9. Avatar

    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?

  10. Avatar
    Shweta Manandhar

    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?


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