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The Canadian Government has recently shared new information on which English tests they accept for immigration. If you want to move to Canada this year, this article will help you understand your options. Learn which English language tests you can take and how IELTS can help you achieve your migration goals.  

Which English language proficiency tests are approved for Canadian immigration?

If you want to apply for a work visa or permanent residency in Canada, the approved English language proficiency tests are: 

What immigration programs are offered by IRCC and what are the English language requirements?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels to check your English language proficiency for immigration. The table below shows the equivalent IELTS General Training scores for each level. 

CLB Level  

IELTS GT Reading  

IELTS GT Writing  

IELTS GT Listening  

IELTS GT Speaking  

4  

3.5  

4  

4.5  

4  

5  

4  

5  

5  

5  

6  

5  

5.5  

5.5  

5.5  

7  

6  

6  

6  

6  

8  

6.5  

6.5  

7.5  

6.5  

9  

7  

7  

8  

7  

10  

8  

7.5  

8.5  

7.5 

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/standard-requirements/language-requirements/test-equivalency-charts.html  

The Canadian government currently offers a range of immigration programs, including: 

Immigration program 

Minimum CLB level required 

Express Entry 

5 or 7 depending on program 

Provincial nominees  

Atlantic Immigration Program 

4 or 5 depending on job offer 

Caregivers 

Agri-Food Pilot 

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 

4, 5 or 6 depending on job offer 

Economic Mobility Pathways Project 

4, 5 or 7 depending on job offer 

Reference: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada.html  

For more information about these programs and other immigration programs for Canada, please visit the IRCC website .  

Which English language proficiency tests are approved for the Student Direct Stream (SDS) study program in Canada?

If you want to study in Canada through the SDS program, the approved English language proficiency tests are: 

  • IELTS Academic 

  • PTE Academic 

  • TOEFL iBT 

  • CAEL 

What is SDS and what are the English language requirements?

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a faster visa application process offered by the Canadian government to eligible countries. Applications are usually processed within 20 days. SDS is open to applicants from Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Vietnam. 

The English language requirements for the Student Direct Stream (SDS) study permit are: 

English Language Test 

Minimum Score Required for SDS  

IELTS Academic 

6.0 

PTE Academic 

60 

TOEFL iBT 

83 

CAEL 

60 

How did the IRCC change their English language requirements for IELTS test takers applying for SDS in 2023?

From 10th August 2023, IELTS test takers no longer need to achieve a band score of 6.0 in every section of the IELTS Academic test (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) for the SDS visa program 

Instead IELTS test takers only need an overall band score of 6.0. For example, if you achieved a 5.5 in Reading and Writing and a 6.5 in Speaking and Listening you would achieve an overall 6.0 band score. 

You can learn more about the IRCC announcement to SDS here.  

What are the advantages of taking IELTS for migration to Canada?

IELTS is the world’s most popular English language test and gives you many options of where and how you sit your test. 

  • IELTS is trusted and accepted by more than 12,000 organisations around the world, including immigration departments, universities, professional bodies and employers. 

  • You can choose to do IELTS on computer or on paper

  • IELTS is available in more than 4,000 test locations. In addition, IDP has more than 380 IELTS on Computer test centres. 

  • Unlike most other English language tests, IELTS gives you the chance to do a speaking test face-to-face with a real human. You can use your results as proof of real-life communication skills to employers. 

  • As well as an Academic test, IELTS also offers a General Training which uses everyday language for migration to Canada. 

Book IELTS for migration to Canada  

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended to provide advice on migrating to Canada and all immigration programs should be checked on the IRCC website or with your migration consultant or lawyer.