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Canadian Immigration Questions and Answers with Attorney David Cohen

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Every month, Attorney David Cohen will answer a few general Canadian immigration questions submitted by our readers. These questions cover immigration programs, eligibility, processing, language requirements, investing in Canada, landing, admissibility, studying in Canada, working in Canada, and much more. Here are this month’s questions and answers.

  1. Can IELTS be waived for economic applicants from native English-speaking countries and countries whose second language or medium of communication in their institutions is English?

Applicants for immigration to Canada applying through an economic immigration program must prove language ability in English or French. For Express Entry candidates, this must be done by taking a standardized language test recognized by the government of Canada. There are three tests recognized by the government of for the purpose of assessing language ability for immigration:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) – General edition

This test is available at test centres internationally.

  • CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)

This test is available within Canada and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) only.

  • TEF (Test d’Évaluation de Français)

This test is for French only.

For English-speaking candidates outside Canada and the UAE, IELTS is effectively a mandatory step on the road to immigration to Canada through Express Entry. Skilled worker and graduate streams of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) also require applicants to submit language test results. Under the Quebec Experience Class (PEQ, a program for workers, students, and graduates in the province of Quebec) applicants may sit a French course or submit education documents in lieu of a test, but this is an exception and does not apply to applicants without French ability.

In short, an individual’s nationality does not excuse them from proving language ability for the purposes of economic immigration to Canada.

  1. Do I need to get my wife’s educational credentials assessed as well if I’m claiming her points in CRS for Express Entry?

Candidates in the Express Entry pool with a spouse or common-law partner may be awarded points for both partners’ levels of education. Up to 140 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points are available for the principal applicant’s level of education, and up to 10 CRS points are available for the spouse or common-law partner’s level of education (single candidates may be awarded up to 150 points for their level of education alone).

In order to obtain these points, the candidate must have either completed a study program in Canada OR obtained an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a designated organization, attesting that the level of education is equivalent to Canadian standards. The same principle applies to the spouse or common-law partner, who also must either have studied in Canada or obtain an ECA in order for points to be awarded.

  1. My wife and I are PR holders and living in Ontario, Canada, for more than a year. We have a newborn boy who was born in Ontario very recently. Since we are not Canadian citizens yet, we wonder whether our child has a PR status or he is deemed a Canadian. If he is not a Canadian, do we need to apply to IRCC for his PR card? Thank you.

Canadian citizenship is typically obtained by birth in Canada on the principle of jus soli (“right of the soil”). Canada is one of a few countries that upholds this principle. Therefore, if your son was born in the province of Ontario, Canada, he is a Canadian citizen by virtue of his place of birth. There is no need for you to apply for any status in Canada on his behalf.

You also mention that you and your wife are not Canadian citizens yet. It might be of interest for you to know that Canada recently passed a law that will allow individuals and families who hold permanent resident status, such as you, to apply for citizenship sooner and more easily than was previously the case. To learn more, please see this article.

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