IRCC has announced that starting in late 2023, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) will be recognized as one of three approved language tests for demonstrating English proficiency in Canadian immigration applications for economic class candidates. The PTE will join CELPIP and IELTS General Training as designated tests accepted by IRCC.
Pearson has launched PTE Essential, a new English language test designed to fulfill IRCC’s language proficiency requirements for Canadian immigration applicants. IRCC has specific language requirements for study permit applicants, which usually require them to take the academic version of a language proficiency test.
With the approval of PTE Essential, economic class immigration candidates now have access to five language tests to demonstrate their proficiency: in addition to PTE Essential, the three previously mentioned English language tests (CELPIP, IELTS General Training, and PTE), there are also two French language tests recognized by IRCC: TEF Canada and TCF Canada.
To prove their ability to economically settle in Canada, IRCC mandates that economic class candidates take a language proficiency test. According to research by Statistics Canada, proficiency in either English or French is a strong indicator of successful economic integration in the country.
While IRCC has not yet specified the exact date when PTE Essential can be used in support of Canadian immigration applications, it is expected to be available towards the end of 2023, as indicated on IRCC’s website.
Canada offers a variety of over 100 pathways for economic class immigration. The leading admission pathways under the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 are the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Express Entry.
Applicants for other economic class pathways, such as IRCC pilot programs, the Atlantic Immigration Program, and Quebec Skilled Worker programs, must also pass a language test designated by IRCC.
In addition to taking an IRCC-designated language test, candidates must meet the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score set for their chosen pathway.
For instance, under the widely used Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), candidates must score a minimum CLB of 7 in all four language abilities (writing, reading, listening, and speaking). The minimum required score for some programs is a CLB 4.
For specific pathways managed through Express Entry and expression of interest systems run by the provinces and territories, candidates earn more points with a higher CLB score.
In 2022, an internal IRCC memo was obtained, confirming the department’s approval of a new language test for Canadian immigration purposes. The memo also outlined potential language testing reforms that IRCC was considering.