IELTS for work permit in Canada | Language for foreign workers
Foreign workers in Canada must show their ability to do the job. Knowing one of the official languages of Canada could be an indication of this ability. However, do you need to take IELTS for a work permit in Canada? Let’s explore this question.
Table of contents
- Official languages of Canada and designated tests
- Taking the IELTS or another language test for a work permit application
- What if the job doesn’t require knowing English or French languages
- Do I need to submit an IELTS for a work permit in advance?
- What test results do you advise?
- Ask your questions!
Canada has two official languages: French and English. Consequently, you need to know at least one of them while working in Canada. To prove your language abilities, you may only take the following tests.
- CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (Only CELPIP General is acceptable. Don’t take General-LS)
- IELTS: International English Language Testing System (Only IELTS General is acceptable. Don’t take IELTS Academic)
- TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
- TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français
Of course, you only need to take one test per language. However, if you don’t know one of the languages, there is no need to take any tests. For example, if you know only English, then take IELTS or CELPIP. Moreover, the validity of each test is only two years.
Generally speaking, you may only work in Canada if you can perform the job. Paragraph 200(3)(a) of IRPR emphasizes this issue. Of course, knowing the local language reflects your capabilities. IRCC does consider the following factors to evaluate the language requirements:
- The content of your job offer (e.g., on the IMP application)
- The LMIA application (if applicable)
- The nature of the job
Officers’ focus is on your ability to do the job. Therefore, they don’t consider your ability to communicate outside the job environment. To evaluate your language skills, an officer may consider one or more of the following:
- The documents you have presented (e.g., your education credentials and the job offer)
- Conducting an interview
- Asking for a valid IELTS or other language test results
The first option is the most common one. However, the officers may consider the other two options.
Generally speaking, officers refuse an LMIA or work permit application that relies on non-official languages. Subsection 203(1.01) of IRPR emphasizes this issue. Therefore, it is risky to claim the job does not require any of the official languages of Canada. Nonetheless, on infrequent occasions, this could be the case. Regardless, you must present several documents to support your claim. I discourage my clients from making such a bold claim. When you work in Canada, you likely need some knowledge of English or French languages to work.
As I mentioned earlier, IELTS is not mandatory but could certainly help. Therefore, taking an IELTS General test and including your work permit application results is wise. Moreover, consider reading my article on the Federal Court’s point of view.
Note: IRCC made changes to the IMP C11 work permit requirements in November 2022. Therefore, if you are a self-employed person or an entrepreneur seeking a work permit under this program, please include proof of language. The best options are IELTS General or CELPIP-G test results (at least CLB 5 for every language skill).
It is almost impossible to obtain IELTS test results for a work permit in Canada. However, the following tables could give you some hints on best practices.
IELTS for NOC 0 and A work permits and those NOC B jobs that require communication skills
Look at the position requirements. For example, if communication plays an important role, it is in your best interest to have test scores equivalent to or higher than the following table. By the way, click here for more information on NOC. Nonetheless, this table is not an official guideline by the government.
IELTS for NOC C and D work permits and those NOC B jobs that require fewer communication skills
If communication does not play an important role, it is in your best interest to have test scores equivalent to or higher than the following table. Nevertheless, this table is not an official guideline by the government.
I must emphasize that neither of these tables is official.
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