What Are The IELTS Requirements For Canadian Immigration?

English language proficiency is one of the major yardsticks used to determine a person’s Canadian immigration eligibility. For this reason, many students take the IELTS exam language test for the sole purpose of gaining visa entry into Canada. Taking the IELTS test can be quite daunting, but with good information and tips, you can be well-positioned to obtain the best possible IELTS score for Canadian immigration. Even native English speakers from countries like Singapore and South Africa are required to take the IELTS exam as part of the Canadian immigration process. If you are considering studying or working in Canada then read on to find out more about the Canadian Immigration IELTS requirements.

This article serves as a guide to a better understanding the Canadian English language proficiency requirements as well as the band scores needed.

Immigration to Canada

There are different permanent residence and citizenship programs that you can apply for to gain entry into Canada

Such as:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Express entry (skilled workers)

All of these programs require a candidate to participate in the IELTS exam

What Kind Of IELTS Is Required For Canadian Express Entry Immigration

The IELTS General Training test is mandatory for candidates who are immigrating to Canada for whichever purpose.

This IELTS Exam is also for those test takers who want to go abroad for the continuation of secondary education, obtain work experience or for training purposes in an English-Speaking Country.

The subject matter, grading, fee and test format of general training test is the same as the academic test but there are a few differences in the writing and reading section of both the tests.

The General Training Reading tests contain 3 sections with up to 2 texts, while the academic test has 1   reading passage per section. The first Writing Task for the Academic Module is a Formal Report while the first Writing Task for the General Training Module is a letter, which can be formal, semi-formal or informal. The General Training Reading passages and writing task are usually much easier than the Academic passages.

What Are The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)?

CLB stands for Canadian Language Benchmarks.  It is the accepted method of describing, measuring and recognizing the English language abilities of a prospective Canadian immigration candidate and is an important aspect of the Canadian Immigration Process Students who have taken the IELTS language proficiency test have to convert their scores to get language points based on CLB. They must meet a minimum of CLB 4 to qualify (job-ready language proficiency).

CLB benchmarks are organized in three stages and 12 levels, which profile an applicant’s language skills in four areas, i.e. listening, reading, writing and speaking. Lower-level benchmarks refer to people who may be new to English (CLB 1 to 4), while the higher levels denote greater language proficiency.

What IELTS Score Is Needed For Canadian Immigration

To apply for an express entry Canadian permanent residency (Canada PR) you need to have a CLB level of 7, which correlates to a minimum IELTS result test score of 6. However, I suggest aiming for a higher overall IELTS band score to increase your chances of being accepted. In general, to secure entry into Canada students need to have individual IELTS scores of 8,7,7,7 and an overall score of between 7 to 8

CLB Level Reading Writing Listening Speaking
10 8 7.5 8.5 7.5
9 7 7 8 7
8 6.5 6.5 7.5 6.5
7 6 6 6 6
6 5 5.5 5.5 5.5
5 4 5 5 5
4 3.5 4 4.5 4


Jonathan has been teaching students to prepare for the IELTS and PTE Exams for more than 10+ years. He's taught English to students in various countries in the world including Singapore, China, Australia, Canada and Colombia.