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Minimum IELTS score to work in Canada and get PR in 2023

Canadian cities are rated as some of the most liveable places in the world, with their welcoming multicultural communities and diverse weather across all four seasons.

If you intend to study and then work in Canada, you might have also considered the process of getting permanent residency there.

To ensure that you can communicate with ease, you will need to provide proof of your language skills to gain a visa, be it English or French.

To prove your English proficiency, you can take the IELTS General Training test, which is the preferred test for immigration to Canada. On the other hand, the IELTS Academic test is for prospective students looking to study in the country.

Below, we’ll go through the minimum IELTS score to work in Canada as well as to obtain PR in the country.

The pathways to work in and obtain PR in Canada

The express entry system is a faster way for skilled immigrants to gain permanent residence in Canada.

In Canada, there are three different pathways:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program

  • Federal Skilled Trades Program

  • Canadian Experience Class

As it takes 6 months for  to process your application, you should ensure that your IELTS test results are valid for the entire duration.

The IRCC handles all matters dealing with immigration and permanent residency in Canada.

For example, according to the Canadian immigration services, for the Canadian experience class, processing time could take up to 30 monthsexternal icon post-COVID, but your express entry profile is only valid for 12 months.

So, if your test results are set to expire soon and your application isn’t processed yet, you should retake the test and upload your updated text results to your profile.

To apply for permanent residency through express entry, you need to have a minimum language proficiency of  , which is a minimum of 6.0 for each section of the IELTS.

The CLB is used in Canada to describe the English ability of people. This can be translated into other English benchmark scores including the IELTS.

For each program, there are different language proficiency requirements. Your language skills are assessed through 4 subcategories - listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The points you earn are awarded according to CLB level (Canadian Language Benchmark).

Minimum IELTS score requirements

If you get CLB 4 or lower, no points are awarded. If you get CLB 10 or higher, you will gain the maximum number of points, which is 34 or 32 (if you are married).

CLB level and IELTS scores

CLB levelPoints per subcategoryListeningReadingSpeakingWriting
10 and above68.5–9.08.0–9.07.5–9.07.5–9.0

If English is your second language, you get 4 points in total if you meet the following per-section requirements.

CLB levelTotal pointsListeningReadingSpeakingWriting
5 and above45.0–9.04.0–9.05.0–9.05.0–9.0

Federal Skilled Trades Program

This program is meant for skilled workers who seek to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. The criteria are more stringent, requiring you to have at least 2 years of full-time work experience in your trade.

In addition, your trade will have to be from approved categories that include agriculture, natural resources, manufacturing and culinary-related occupations.

Here are the per section score requirements for each CLB level and the required IELTS scores.

CLB levelListeningReadingSpeakingWriting
10 and above8.5–9.08.0–9.07.5–9.07.5–9.0

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class is meant for skilled workers that possess Canadian work experience seeking to become permanent residents.

The job categories are split into different tiers, of which for the Canadian Experienced Class, only 4 are applicable.

This means you need to have skilled experience in at least one of these categories based on training, education, experience and responsibilities (TEER):

TEER 0 - Management occupations (e.g. financial managers)

TEER 1 - Occupations that require a university degree (e.g. software engineers)

TEER 2 - Occupations that require a college diploma, apprentice training or supervisory occupations (e.g. medical laboratory technologists)

TEER 2 - Occupations that require a college diploma, apprentice training or at least 6 months on-the-job-training (e.g. dental assistants)

For jobs under the National Occupational Classification system (NOC) in TEER 0 and 1, the minimum language requirement is CLB 7. For NOC TEER 2 and 3 jobs, the requirement is CLB 5. More details for Express Entry programs can be found on Canada’s immigration siteexternal icon.

Here are the CLB levels that correspond to per-section IELTS scores.

NOCCLB levelListeningReadingSpeakingWriting
A10 and above8.5–9.08.0–9.07.5–9.07.5–9.0

Apart from the language proficiency, you will be assessed by other criteria such as level of education, age, and work experience.

To gain permanent residency through Canada express entry, the minimum points through the Comprehensive Ranking System Criteriaexternal icon is 490, which was the cutoff on 18th January 2023.

Other English tests accepted are the TEF test and CELPIP General.

However, to work in Canada, IELTS score requirements overall and for each band may differ. For example, to be a lawyer, a minimum score of 7.0 in each section of the IELTS is required. To be a nurse, you need a minimum overall score of 7.0 and 7.5 for listening, 6.5 for writing and 7.0 for speaking.

Pursue your career and PR in Canada with IDP

Ready to embark on your journey to work and live in Canada?

At IDP, we help students and professionals take the first step by helping you sit for IELTS.

Here’s how we can help you effectively prepare and why IDP is the best choice to pass your IELTS test!

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