LANGUAGE TESTS FOR CANADIAN IMMIGRATION: IELTS, CELPIP & TEF
IELTS, CELPIP, OR TEF?
For Canadian immigration, you have to provide language test results from an authorized organization. There are two authorized test providers in English, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP). If you want to take your language test in French, you must take the Test devaluation de français (TEF).
IRCC does not have a preferred test. Since results from all three tests are valued equally, you can choose to take whichever test is more convenient for you.
No matter which language test you take, the results must be from within the last two years (24 months) to be valid.
IELTS, CELPIP, and TEF all assign a score for each of four language abilities: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
#IELTS is an internationally available English proficiency test. We usually recommend our clients take the IELTS for their immigration file, and provide them with IELTS training because there are many testing centers around the world. There are two categories of IELTS: General Training and Academic. For Canadian immigration, you should take the IELTS – General Training.
IELTS results provide a score for each language ability, as well as an overall band score that averages your results in each ability. For Canadian immigration purposes, your overall band score does not matter.
#CELPIP was designed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Unlike the IELTS, which are designed for international English proficiency, the CELPIP was designed for Canadian English, which contains elements of British English and American English, as well as Canadian accents.
There are two CELPIP test types: the General Test and the General LS Test. For immigration, you have to take the CELPIP – General Test.
Originally, the CELPIP could only be taken from within Canada, but it’s now expanded internationally with a test center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
If you are a native French speaker or would prefer to submit language test results demonstrating French proficiency, you must take the #TEF.
There are two types of TEF available: the TEF and the TEFAQ. We usually recommend that you take the TEF. The TEFAQ is only accepted for Quebec immigration, while the TEF is accepted by both Quebec and federal immigration.
WHAT SCORE DO I NEED?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question.
Most Canadian economic immigration programs have minimum language requirements, but they are not all the same. So the score you need to get may depend on the program you’re applying to.
However, many programs operate on points systems. Points may be awarded for things like age, work experience, and education, in addition to language proficiency. Depending on your profile, the language test score you need to qualify could be different from the minimum requirement.
Our advice is to give it your best effort. If you don’t like your results, you can also take the test again to try to improve them. The important thing to remember is that these are tests. Even if you are confident in your English or French language ability, you should prepare by studying and doing practice tests.
CANADIAN LANGUAGE BENCHMARK
No matter which test you take, your results will be converted into Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), or Niveaux de competence Linguistique canadiens (NCLC), levels. CLB levels run from 4 (poor) to 10 (excellent). When Canadian immigration programs indicate a language requirement, they usually refer to a CLB level.
Example: Say a program has a minimum language requirement of CLB 4. That means that your lowest score among the four language abilities must be at least CLB 4. If you score below that level on any of the abilities, you will not meet the minimum language requirement.
Learn how to convert your test results to CLB.
At Canadian, we are with you every step of the way. We don’t just prepare our client’s immigration file; we prepare our clients for their new life in Canada too! Our free online assessment can help you discover all of your options to move to Canada permanently.