Language Skills Under the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Last updated: 8 November 2021

The language skills factor is one of the six selection factors for which points are awarded to a Skilled Worker/Professional applicant under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).

A maximum of 28 points may be are awarded under this factor, based on a principal applicant's ability to speak one or both of Canada's two official languages: English and French. Up to 24 points can be awarded for the applicant's proficiency in a first language (English or French). An additional four points may be awarded for the applicant's proficiency in a second language (English or French). The applicant may indicate either English or French language as the first or second language when applying to the program. 

The minimum threshold is based on Canada's national standards for measuring an individual's language proficiency, known as the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). The minimum threshold set for the Federal Skilled Worker Program is CLB level 7, which is defined as "adequate intermediate proficiency".

All applicants must include test results with their application in order to claim points under the language skills selection factor. To support language abilities, applicants must include test results from the following organizations:

No other method is approved for supporting language abilities. Language tests must not be more than two years old at the time an application for Canadian permanent residence is submitted. 

All applicants must prove that they meet or exceed Canada's minimum threshold for language proficiency in all four language abilities: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. 

Applicants who score below CLB 7 are not eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker program.

Points are awarded to a Principal Applicant to the Federal Skilled Worker Program based on the following table. Note that CELPIP scoring corresponds with CLB levels (e.g., a CELPIP level 12 corresponds with a CLB level 12, a CELPIP level 11 is a CLB level 11, etc.). IELTS scores need to be converted to CLB levels.

ProficiencyIELTS/CELPIP score equivalencePoints
First Official Language

CLB Level 9 or higher 

(Initial Advanced)

IELTS Listening 8 or above or CELPIP 9 or above

IELTS Reading 7 or above

IELTS Speaking 7 or above

IELTS Writing 7 or above

6 points per ability

CLB Level 8

(Fluent Intermediate) 

IELTS Listening 7.5 or CELPIP 8

IELTS Reading 6.5

IELTS Speaking 6.5

IELTS Writing 6.5

5 points per ability

CLB Level 7

(Adequate Intermediate)

IELTS Listening 6 or CELPIP 7

IELTS Reading 6

IELTS Speaking 6

IELTS Writing 6

4 points per ability
Below CLB Level 7Not eligible to applyNot eligible to apply
Maximum points for first official language24 points
Second Official Language
CLB 5 and above4 points for all language abilities 
Maximum4 points

Points are also awarded to a principal applicant under the Federal Skilled Worker Program's adaptability factor for a spouse or common-law partner's language skills. 

The spouse or common-law must have a proven language level in either English or French equivalent to CLB 4 level or higher in all four language abilities: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The principal applicant may obtain five (5) points towards his or her overall Federal Skilled Worker points under the adaptability factor for a spouse or common-law partner's language ability. Language skills can also award Federal Skilled Worker candidates points under Express Entry's Comprehensive Ranking System skill transferability factors.

Learn more about the FSWP's selection factors

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