Under the Federal Skilled Worker Category, Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and some Provincial Nominee Programs, Canadian Immigration Visa Officers require that applicants prove their language proficiency in either English or French. To do so, each applicant must take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam or a Test d'Evaluation Français (TEF) exam.
IELTS and TEF results help Visa Officers determine whether the applicant has sufficient English or French language ability for proper integration into Canadian society and the Canadian workforce.
Under the Quebec Skilled Worker program, to gain language proficiency points, test results must be submitted for French and/or English. IELTS is the only recognized test for English proficiency. For more information on recognized French tests, see Proving French Language Ability (Quebec Skilled Worker Program).
To demonstrate English language ability, IELTS results must be submitted so that the Visa Officer will be able to objectively evaluate the language category of the applicant. For Citizenship and Immigration Canada, IELTS results are considered the only conclusive proof of English language proficiency.
To enroll for an IELTS examination, you will need to contact your local IELTS test centre to find out the dates when you will be able to take your test and what the cost will be. Then, download and complete the application form and send it the local IELTS centre along with your photos, a copy of your identification, and your payment.
Many people take preparation courses before they take the IELTS to ensure that they receive as high a score as possible. You can also take IELTS practice tests to get an idea of what the tests are like.
The IELTS consists of four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The whole test lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes and can be completed in one day. The Speaking component can also be taken up to 7 days before or after the other three components (at the discretion of the test centre).
The Listening component lasts for 30 minutes and consists of four audio clips that you must listen to and answer questions about.
- Conversation – 2 speakers
- Conversation – 4 speakers
The Reading component lasts for 60 minutes and consists of three passages you will read and answer questions about. The texts are typically taken from books, newspapers, magazines, and journals. You will be asked to:
- Identify attitudes and perceptions
- Find detailed information
- Complete a diagram
The Writing component lasts for 60 minutes and consists of 2 tasks. You will need to:
- Write a descriptive report of a table or diagram (150 words)
- Write an essay in response to a statement (250 words)
- Be sure to read the question carefully before composing your text.
The Speaking component lasts for 10-15 minutes. It is a face-to-face interview between the candidate and the examiner. It consists of:
- Introduction and interview
- Individual talk
- Discussion topics
You will be given a score for each component (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) on a Band Scale from 1-9. In order to be awarded the maximum 16 points for English language ability on the Federal Skilled Worker application, you will need to score a 7.5 or higher in the Listening component and a 6.5 or higher in the other three components.
Band 1 – Non user
Band 2 – Intermittent user
Band 3 – Extremely limited user
Band 4 – Limited user
Band 5 – Modest user
Band 6 – Competent user
Band 7 – Good user
Band 8 – Very good user
Band 9 – Expert user
IELTS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Listening – 30 minutes
Reading – 60 minutes
Writing – 60 minutes
Speaking – 10-15 minutes
CLB Level 9 - IELTS Listening: 7.0 Reading: 8.0 Writing: 7.0 Speaking: 7.0
CLB Level 8 - IELTS Listening: 6.5 Reading: 7.5 Writing: 6.5 Speaking: 6.5
CLB Level 7 - IELTS Listening: 6.0 Reading: 6.0 Writing: 6.0 Speaking: 6.0
CLB Level 6 - IELTS Listening: 5.5 Reading: 5.5 Writing: 5.0 Speaking: 5.5
CLB Level 5 - IELTS Listening: 5.0 Reading: 5.0 Writing: 4.0 Speaking: 5.0
CLB Level 4 - IELTS Listening: 4.0 Reading: 4.5 Writing: 3.5 Speaking: 4.0