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.

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: listening, reading, speaking, writing. 

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:

Proficiency IELTS score equivalence Points
First Official Language

CLB Level 9 or higher 

(Initial Advanced)

IELTS Listening 8 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

IELTS Reading 6.5

IELTS Speaking 6.5

IELTS Writing 6.5

5 points per ability

CLB Level 7

(Adequate Intermediate)

IELTS Listening 6

IELTS Reading 6

IELTS Speaking 6

IELTS Writing 6

4 points per ability
Below CLB Level 7 Not eligible to apply Not eligible to apply
Maximum points for first official language 24 points
Second Official Language
At minimum CLB 5 in Listening, Speaking, Reading or Writing 4 points for all abilities 
Maximum 4 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 about the next selection factor: Federal Skilled Worker Work Experience.

See the complete list of all six selection factors for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Tools and Resources

Latest News

  • Nova Scotia to reopen immigration category for Express Entry candidates without a job offer

    The Nova Scotia Nominee Program announced on November 16 that it will accept up to 225 new applications under its popular Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry Category B. 

  • Express Entry BC and Skills Immigration candidates invited in the latest BC draw

    The Government of British Columbia has invited 358 Skills Immigration and Express Entry candidates to apply for a provincial nomination in a November 14 invitation round.