Language Tests – CLB Equivalency

Skilled immigrants who wish to apply for permanent residency in Canada under the Express Entry system must meet certain language requirements. The Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, and Federal Skilled Trade Program are federal immigration programs managed by the Express Entry.

The language requirements are part of the core/human capital factor of the Comprehensive Ranking System of the Express Entry. As a bilingual country, Canada accepts both English or French recognized language tests for federal immigration programs. The recognized language tests for Express Entry are CELPIP (English), IELTS (English) or TEF (French).

Those tests are used to measure the writing, reading, listening and speaking abilities of the applicant. The Canadian government uses equivalency charts to award points on language ability according to the results of the test.

To measure your English or French levels, the government uses Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) for English and Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) for French, as the following:

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General - Test score equivalency chart (after April 1, 2014)

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training – Test score equivalency chart

Test d'évaluation de français (TEF) – Test score equivalency chart (after April 1, 2014)

Federal Immigration Programs

Each federal immigration program managed by the Express Entry (The Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, and Federal Skilled Trade Program) has a different requirement for the CLB or NCLC:

Federal Skilled Worker Program

  • First official language: Minimum level for all four abilities CLB or NCLC 7 (English or French)
  • Second official language: Minimum level of CLB or NCLC 5 (English or French)

Canadian Experience Class

The skills you need will depend on your National Occupational Classification system (NOC).

  • NOC 0 or A: Minimum level for all four abilities CLB or NCLC 7 (English or French)
  • NOC B: Minimum level for all four abilities CLB or NCLC 5 (English or French)

Federal Skilled Trades Program

  • Speaking and listening: Minimum level of CLB or NCLC 5 (English or French)
  • Reading and writing: Minimum level of CLB or NCLC 4 (English or French)

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Criteria – Express Entry

Under the core/human capital factors of the CRS – Express Entry, the language proficiency may award up to 150 points to a candidate with a spouse or common-law partner and 160 points to a candidate without a spouse or common-law partner.

The CLB per ability is scored as the following:

First official language

Maximum points for each ability (reading, writing, speaking and listening):

  • 32 with a spouse or common-law partner
  • 34 without a spouse or common-law partner

Second official language

Maximum points for each ability (reading, writing, speaking and listening):

  • 6 with a spouse or common-law partner (up to a combined maximum of 22 points)
  • 6 without a spouse or common-law partner (up to a combined maximum of 24 points)

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