IRCC approves 4 new English language tests for Student Direct Stream

Kareem El-Assal, Edana Robitaille
Published: May 26, 2023

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has just announced that it will accept language test results from four new tests for Student Direct Stream (SDS) applicants.

IRCC will begin to accept test results from these four new tests effective August 10, 2023.

The newly eligible tests are: 

  • CELPIP General
  • CAEL
  • PTE Academic
  • TOEFL iBT Test

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All test results must demonstrate abilities in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

CELPIP general tests must show a score that is equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark of at least 7 in each of the four language speaking abilities

CAEL and Pearson PTE Academic test results must show a minimum score of 60.

Educational Testing Service (ETS) TOEFL iBT Test need a minimum score of 83.

Students must take these tests in-person. Online, remotely proctored tests will not be accepted for applicants in the SDS.

Prior to this change, IELTS General and IELTS Academic were the only tests approved by IRCC for SDS applicants.

What is the SDS?

The SDS offers expedited processing of study permits for students from specific countries. Eligible students are legal residents of: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam.

There is a service standard of 20 days for a all study permit applications eligible for SDS.

The SDS launched in 2018 and is particularly popular among Indian international students.

Who is eligible for the SDS?

In addition to being legal residents of specific countries, students who meet this criteria must also:

  • provide a copy of a letter of acceptance from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI);
  • present a confirmation document for the applicant’s upfront medical exam;
  • prove that they have obtained a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000;
  • prove that tuition fees for the first year of study are paid;
  • show proof of language test results completed within two years of the SDS application being received demonstrating an IELTS score of 6 in English or NCLC 7 for French; and
  • submit the application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

Canada is now home to over 800,000 international students

IRCC reported Canada hosted over 800,000 international students at the end of 2022, the largest in the country's history. Canada's international student population has quadrupled since 2008 due to a number of domestic and international factors. Domestically, the Canadian government and DLIs have more aggressively recruited international students for a host of economic, social, and cultural reasons. Globally, the international student population has risen due to the increase in the global middle class. Canada is seen as an attractive destination for international students due to its high quality of education, reputation for multiculturalism, and work and immigration opportunities.

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