Canada Immigration – Language Test: What You Need to Know

Do you know what language test you need to immigrate to Canada? The first thing you need to know is that almost every category of economic immigration to Canada (and maybe spousal sponsorship soon) requires the results of a language test in order to apply. Which version of the test you need and the scores required, depends on the category of immigration you apply under.

Free Assessment

The Basics:

Since Canada is a bilingual country you can usually take an approved French OR English language test to demonstrate your proficiency. Since points are often awarded for proficiency in both official Canadian languages, applicants that are bilingual in French and English have an advantage and can take both tests to gain additional points. It is important to note that NO Canadian Immigration program requires you to take both a French and English language test, not even the Quebec Skilled Worker program.

What Score do I Need?

This question is often difficult or impossible to answer unless we have your full profile and supporting documents, which is not always practical for an initial assessment. Immigrating to Canada is often a matter of points and you are eligible to submit an application if you meet the arbitrary point pass mark. Points are awarded for various different factors like; age, work experience, level of education and language proficiency. So as you can see, there is no standard answer to this question.

For example:

If you have a Master’s degree, you are under 35 and a you have 5- 6 years of work experience, the language requirements you will need to meet will be lower than someone who does not have the same level of qualifications as you.

Our advice is to give whatever test you take (French or English) your best effort and hope for a positive result. With Express Entry, Canada is moving away from the traditional first come, first served type of immigration selection system. What that means is that people with higher language scores will typically be ranked higher in the selection pool and therefore be more likely to be invited to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence.

Although we can’t always tell you exactly what score you need, some programs do however have a minimum language requirement that we will go over in the sections below.

Express Entry/Federal Skilled Worker:

There are three different language tests accepted under Express Entry. The approved tests and minimum requirements to be eligible are as follows:

1) The General IELTS test (English)

  • Minimum score needed: 6.0 in all 4 categories

2) The General CELPIP test (English and only available in Canada)

  • Minimum score needed: 4L in all 4 categories

3) TEF: Test d’évaluation de Français (French)

  • Minimum score needed:
  • Speaking: 310-348
  • Listening: 249-279
  • Reading: 207 – 232
  • Writing: 310-348


Scoring below the minimum requirement means you are not eligible to apply with those language test results. It should also be mentioned that having the minimum language scores needed to apply does not necessarily mean you are eligible to submit an application. It simply means that the scores you have are the minimum requirement to apply with. Whether you meet the 67 point pass mark of the Federal Skilled Worker program will depend on other factors, not just language proficiency. As a client of Canadim you can benefit from our years of experience to let us guide you to make the best decision about your Canadian Immigration file.

Quebec Skilled Worker:

The Quebec program is slightly more flexible regarding the type of language test you can take and there are no minimum scores needed to apply like in Express Entry. But keep in mind that the Quebec Skilled Worker program is a points based system too and you must make enough points to apply. Scoring higher on your language tests will increase the likelihood your scores will be sufficient.

Immigration Quebec will accept IELTS results to demonstrate your English language proficiency. Or, if you are a native French speaker, you can take the TEF or the DELF examination.

One major benefit of the Quebec program is that under the current regulations, language tests can be submitted after the initial application. This way you can work on your language test results while your application is processing.

Quick Facts:

All language test results cannot be older than 24 months from the date you submit them.

The average of your language test scores means absolutely nothing. All that matters is the individual scores in the 4 categories (listening, writing, reading and speaking).

The Quebec program is the only Canadian Immigration program that will accept the academic version of the IELTS. We always recommend the general training since it is easier and universally accepted for proof of English language proficiency.

Free Assessment


The Canadim Team!

Recent articles

New Immigration program

Canada Permanent Residence | Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) | International Students

Canada Launches New Permanent Residence Immigration Programs for Essential Workers and International Students

As of May 6, 2021, essential workers and international graduates currently working in Canada can apply for Canadian permanent residency under favourable new Immigration programs.

Hong Kong Work Permit

Canada Work Permit

Canada Launches New Open Work Permit for Hong Kong Residents

Starting February 8th 2021, eligible Hong Kong residents can apply for a 3 year Canadian open work permit, designed to give highly educated Hong Kong residents the opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

Canadian Immigration 2021

2021 Canadian Immigration Forecast

As 2020 draws to a close, we can confidently say that it’s been an impressive year in immigration, and things don’t look to be slowing […]

Canada Permanent Residence | Canadian immigration 2020

Landing in Canada During COVID-19

In order to finish your application process for Canadian permanent residency, you need to land in Canada. However, with the border currently closed to non-essential […]

Canada Permanent Residence | Canadian immigration 2020

How to Immigrate to Canada From Nigeria

The number of Nigerians immigrating to Canada has tripled in the last five years. Nigeria is now one of the main source countries of Canada’s […]

Canadian immigration 2020

How to Immigrate to Canada From Lebanon

The Lebanese population in Canada is one of the fastest growing demographics. In 2001, there were nearly 144,000 Lebanese in Canada. According to the 2016 […]

Work in Canada

The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Job in Canada in 2021

Many foreign nationals look to Canada as a land of opportunity, hoping to secure a comfortable life for themselves and their families. One of the […]

International Students

COVID-19: A Guide for International Students in Canada

There’s no denying that right now is a difficult time to be an international student. With the interruption of classes, student residencies shutting down, an […]

Provincial Parliament Buildings in Victoria, British Columbia

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Easiest Provinces to Get Canadian Permanent Residence in 2021

Canada’s provincial nominee programs (PNPs) allow each province and territory to select candidates that meet their specific criteria and nominate them for Canadian permanent residence.  […]

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP): How to find a job offer

Canada’s Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) has been growing in strides since its introduction in 2017, and has quickly become a promising option for those […]

International Students | Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

PNP Immigration Options for International Students in 2021

If you want to come study in Canada as an international student, you might be wondering which province you should study in. Are there benefits […]

Canadian Immigration 2017

Best Places to Relocate in Canada From the US

Considering making the move across the border from the U.S. to Canada? You’re not alone. In 2019, more than 10,000 U.S. residents made the move […]

International Students | Study-2-Immigrate

Should I Study in Canada or the US?: Six Reasons to Choose Canada

Speedy processing times for study permits, top-quality educational institutions, and an open and welcoming society are just some of factors that influence international students when […]

International Students | Study Permit

5 Reasons Canadian Study Permit Applications Get Refused

Studying in Canada is a dream come true for many international students. When you receive a letter of acceptance from a Canadian school, it might […]

Family Sponsorship | International Students

How to Bring Your Family With You While Studying in Canada

There are a lot of great benefits to being an international student in Canada, including the ability to bring family with you while you study.  […]

Free assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options. Get your free assessment now!