To qualify for Canada’s federal and provincial skilled worker immigration programs, you must undergo a language test. This requirement applies to Canada’s federal Express Entry system, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and other skilled worker streams.
A language test is essential to demonstrate your language proficiency per the requirements of the skilled worker program you are applying to. Each program has its specific test score requirements.
The Canadian government employs the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) as a standardized method to assess your language skills. Some programs may require a CLB level of 4, while others may mandate a higher level of 7.
It’s important to note that language test scores are valid for two years. You must submit your Canadian immigration application within two years of completing your language test. You must retake the language test if more than two years have passed.
What Language Tests Are Approved for Canadian Immigration?
To fulfill the language requirement for skilled worker applications, you must take a language test that the Canadian government has approved. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) currently approve the following language tests for English proficiency:
- CELPIP General Test
- IELTS General Training
Starting in late 2023, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) will also be added as a designated language test alongside the CELPIP and IELTS.
For French proficiency, the approved language test is:
- TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
- TCF Canada : Test de connaissance du français
On the other hand, the IELTS also has four modules: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The speaking component can be taken up to seven days before or after the other three components.
The cost of the IELTS test is generally around $300. If you take the test on a computer, you can expect to receive your results within 3-5 days. For paper-based tests, results are typically issued 13 days after the test.
The CELPIP is a language test that consists of four modules: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It can be completed in one sitting and typically takes around three hours. The test costs approximately $300, and you can expect to receive your results within 4-5 days after taking the test.
The TEF (Test d’Évaluation de Français) is a language assessment used to evaluate French comprehension and expression skills for non-native French speakers.
It is recognized for Quebec Immigration and is the only French language test accepted for Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). In most cases, the TEF is mandatory to demonstrate French language proficiency in the following situations:
- Immigrating to Canada and becoming a Canadian citizen
- Immigrating to the Canadian province of Quebec
- Studying in France (TEF for studies in France)
- Obtaining citizenship in France (TEF for Naturalization)
- Certifying French language ability for work
- Enrolling in certain programs and studying abroad as an international student
The test comprises three written sections: reading comprehension, written expression, and vocabulary, and two verbal sections: listening comprehension and oral expression.
Depending on your specific situation, some sections may be optional. Each section may vary in duration, ranging from 15, 40, or 60 minutes. The cost of the TEF may vary depending on the location where the test is administered.
The TCF (Test de Connaissance du Français) is another language assessment used to evaluate French comprehension and expression skills in non-native French speakers. It is also accepted for Quebec Immigration purposes.
The TCF consists of three compulsory sections: reading comprehension, use of language structures, and listening comprehension. There are also supplementary or optional sections, which include spoken and written expressions in an interview.
For Quebec immigration, applicants are required to take the listening and speaking modules, while the writing and reading modules are not mandatory but can earn additional points.
The compulsory examinations typically last around 1 hour and 30 minutes, while the optional examinations take approximately two hours. Similar to the TEF, the cost of the TCF may vary depending on the location where the test is administered.
In conclusion, language tests are a requirement for skilled worker immigration programs in Canada, including the federal Express Entry system, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and other skilled worker streams. These tests, such as the CELPIP, IELTS, TEF, and TCF, are used to assess language skills in English and French for non-native speakers.
Each program may have its specific test score requirements, and the validity period of language test scores is generally two years. It is important to meet the language requirements of the skilled worker program you are applying to increase your chances of successful immigration to Canada.
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