French Language Proficiency Tests: Canadian Immigration

Published on: September 6th, 2023
Last updated: February 7th, 2024

If you speak French, taking the TEF or TCF language test can significantly increase your chances in the Express Entry pool.

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If are planning to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry, you will have to prove that you can communicate in at least one of Canada’s official languages, either English or French.

To demonstrate your proficiency in French on your Express Entry profile, you must take either the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) or the Test de connaissance du français (TCF). Demonstrating your French proficiency can provide you with several advantages in the Express Entry system.

What are the TEF and TCF tests?

All immigrants applying through the Express Entry system must demonstrate proficiency in either English or French. To do so, they must take a French language test approved by Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC). There are currently two French language tests accepted by IRCC:

  1. Test d’Évaluation du Français (TEF Canada); or
  2. Test de connaissance du français (TCF)

If you want to claim Express Entry points for French language proficiency, you must take one of these two language tests.

Whichever of the two tests you take, it must include:

  • compréhension de l’écrit
  • compréhension de l’oral
  • expression écrite
  • expression orale

The TEF and TCF tests examine four different abilities in French: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The test is offered in many countries around the world, however spaces are often limited, so interested candidates should register in advance.

To find the TCF or TEF location nearest to you, visit their dedicated webpages.

Express Entry includes three different immigration programs, each having a different minimum requirement for language. However, Express Entry is highly competitive, so candidates who score higher than the minimum will have a greater chance of success.

 

Note

All language test results are valid for two years from the date of the test

How does taking the TCF or TEF language test impact your Express Entry profile?

Candidates that provide strong TEF or TCF results not only significantly increase their CRS score, but they also increase their chances with many Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

Those interested in Express Entry must first create an Express Entry profile. As a part of this profile, candidates must include the results from an official language test. Based on their Express Entry profile, candidates will be assigned a score, out of 1200 points, called the Comprehensive Ranking System score, or CRS score.

All Express Entry candidates must include a language test. However, those including French-language test results from the TEF or TCF test may have a few advantages. First, if a candidate submits TEF or TCF results showing Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 7 or higher, they will receive additional points for French-language. In October 2020, the Canadian government increased the number of additional points given to French speakers with strong proficiency from 30 to 50.

As well, French-language proficiency may make candidates eligible for some French-speaking PNPs, like that of Ontario. Other programs, like Nova Scotia’s Labour Market Priorities stream, have also selected French speakers directly from the Express Entry pool.

What other options are there for French-speakers?

Those who speak French may qualify for other Canadian immigration programs as well. Specifically, Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec, has a range of immigration programs for French-speaking skilled workers. For example, the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) requires that all candidates are proficient in French. As well, the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program is a competitive program, giving an advantage to those with demonstrated abilities in French.

Quebec does not accept TCF results. Instead, candidates interested in immigrating to Quebec can take the TEF or Test d’Évaluation de Français pour l’accès au Québec (TEFAQ).

Other language tests for Express Entry?

Those wishing to claim points for English-language abilities in Express Entry must take one of the two approved tests for testing English. These two tests are the IELTS, which is offered in most countries around the world, and the CELPIP, which is offered in twelve different countries around the world.

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