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Importance of IELTS for Canada Permanent Residency

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System, most commonly referred to as IELTS, is the world’s most widespread English language test. This exam was introduced in 1989 and is designed by a few of the industry’s best language assessment experts. IELTS test results are recognized across the world by many countries like Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States.

Individuals applying for Canada PR are expected to present English language skills by taking a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) approved language test. IELTS, being one of the top tests recognized by the government of Canada, is a crucial factor for Canada Permanent Residency.

Getting a PR status in Canada has plenty of benefits. The most beneficial part is being legally authorized to avail many services such as work anywhere in the country, free education for a child up to a defined age, affordable healthcare, and after 3 years of stay you can apply for Canadian citizenship too.

There are several PR immigration programs to choose from when migrating to Canada, namely:

  • Express Entry
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) such as Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), Ontario Immigration Nominee Program (OINP), Nova Scotia Provincial nominee program (NSNP), etc.
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Business Investor
  • Quebec Immigration, etc.

Some provincial programs require that the applicants must have a job offer in Canada. In such cases, you need to have an offer letter for Canada PR. This document is issued by the employer stating the details of the job such as work hours, pay, duties, etc.

Why IELTS is crucial?

As mentioned earlier, IELTS is the most famous English language proficiency test and is recognized across the world. Regarding immigration, the Canadian government recognizes four language tests, and IELTS tops the list. The other recognized exams are the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), Test d’Evaluation du Français (TEF), and Test de Connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada). The last two tests evaluate the applicant’s French language ability.

The IELTS test report includes the band scores of four elements – reading, writing, listening, and speaking, along with the cumulative band score. The average score of these four elements is the overall band score and is rounded to the half band or nearest whole. All the elements scores are weighted evenly. The band scores are reported on a scale of 1-9, where 1 is the lowest and 9 is the highest.

If you have scored low in IELTS, you can still apply for Canada PR. You can apply for provincial programs that accept low IELTS scores. Some provinces need a low level of language expertise by the applicants when compared to Express Entry programs.

For instance, you can apply for Canada PR in 5 bands under the SINP program. SINP is Canada’s most famous program that has very limited language skills requirements and offers nominations to Canada PR applicants even with a low IELTS score.

IELTS for Express Entry

Under Express Entry, every immigrant has to show their expertise in English or French language, or both. In case you are not proficient in the French language and are not in a place to take a CELPIP exam, you will be required to provide an IELTS score to apply for Express Entry. Also, for this program, the IELTS General Training is accepted, not the academic category.

For all Canadian immigration programs, English language proficiency is the key element. Irrespective of the program you choose, your test score can affect your total ratings.

IELTS for education in Canada

If you are planning to pursue an education in Canada, you would then need to provide evidence of your English language ability. Providing the language test score will be the first step to get approval from a College or University in Canada. The college/university will further grant a permit to study in the country.

The best choice is to take the IELTS exam. You need to be cautious to take the academic version here and not the general training. The general training is accepted only for immigration purposes.

Whether a language test score is needed or not will depend on the program, institution, and student’s background. You must consult the respective institute for information regarding admission criteria.

Apart from having a valid IELTS test score, you can also get your credentials evaluated. The International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) assists individuals to get validation for their training and education received outside Canada. IQAS authenticates your education and issues certificates that compares to Canada’s educational standards.


The IELTS exam is taken by thousands of individuals every year to prepare for the Canadian immigration program. Taking this exam can be a difficult proposition, but with some knowledge and guidance, you can score well for the immigration process.

For Canada Immigration, IELTS may not be the only route, but it is the most preferred and persuasive approach in Canada. IELTS score is readily approved both for immigration and citizenship in the country. However, the minimum IELTS score will depend on the program chosen. Your immigration consultant will be able to assist you with the necessary requirements for various programs.