One of the critical parts of the Express Entry system for immigration to Canada is proving your language proficiency with a test like the International English Language Testing System. Here, our Orleans and Ottawa immigration doctors explain the minimum score you must get on the IELTS depending on your Express Entry program and how this test can improve your chances of being invited to apply for permanent residence.
Express Entry is the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC's) online system and process to manage applications for permanent residence from skill workers interested in immigrating to Canada.
Different Express Entry programs require different documentation (governed both by what employment offers you have received or your work experience). However, there are certain documents that all applications must be able to provide in order to be invited to apply for permanent residence. These include:
- Medical Examination Confirmation (provided by an immigration doctor)
- Police Certificates certifying you and your family don't have a criminal record
- A copy of the biographical data page of your passport or other travel documentation to prove your identity
- Employment Reference Letter as proof of your work experience
- Language Test Results with a minimum score depending on your specific immigration program
What language tests are approved for Canadian Immigration?
When going through the process of applying for immigration through Express Entry, you can test either or both of your proficiencies in English or French depending on your intended immigration destination (Wuesbec requires French Language testing while the rest of the country does not) and your own levels of proficiency in both languages.
To that end, there are 4 approved languages tests you can choose from in order to prove your proficiency in English or French: the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test d’évaluation de français (TEF Canada) and Test de connaissance du français (TCF Canada). By far the most popular of these is the IELTS.
How is the IELTS scored?
IELTS is a comprehensive language proficiency test system covering 4 different test formats: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. All test-takers take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests depending on whether you are taking the Academic or General Training test systems.
Each test is scored on a "band" scale from 0 - 9, with the final score either being a whole or half band result (0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, etc). When taking the IELTS for Canadian immigration, your band score will be converted into a result on the Canadian Language Benchmark.
After conversion, your final CLB result will be tallied, compared against the minimum result depending on your Express Entry program, and you will be assigned points towards your invitation to apply for permanent residency depending on how well you scored.
What are the minimum IELTS scores for Express Entry?
The minimum score you need on the IELTS and its conversion into CLB depends on what program you are applying through. The minimum for each of the programs are as follows:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program: This program requires a CLB result of 7, which translates to a band score of 6.0 in each of the four test categories of the IELTS.
- Canadian Experience Class: This program requires a different minimum CLB score depending on the NOC class of your job.
- If it is classified as a NOC type 0 or A, you will require a CLB score of 7.
- If it is classified as a NOC type B, you will require a CLB score of 5 (converted from a band score of 4.0 in Reading and a 5.0 in the other 3 tests)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program: This program requires a CLB of 5 in Speaking and Listening, converted from results of 5.0 in each of the respective IELTS tests, and a CLB of 4 in Reading and Writing, converted from results of 3.5 and 4.0 respectively in their IELTS tests.
While these are the minimum scores for your consideration of permanent residence in Canada, scoring higher on the IELTS is always better. With an increase of only a few levels in your IELTS score and CLB conversion, you can distinguish yourself from the pool of applicants and increase your chances of being invited to apply for permanent Canadian residence.