Minimum Language Requirements for Express Entry

Language Requirements for Express EntryGiulia is an Italian citizen. She holds a master’s degree in engineering. Despite several years of work experience and a successful career, Giulia has decided to immigrate to Canada. In fact, she has prepared some documents already. Giulia knows she needs to take a language test to apply under the Express Entry system. However, she doesn’t know what the minimum language requirements for Express Entry are.

The most popular immigration option to Canada is the Express Entry (EE) system. This option covers three significant categories of immigration to Canada, namely:

Each method expects applicants to meet specific requirements. If you want to know more about each option, click the links above. Subsequently, you will learn about each option. This article only focuses on the minimum language requirements for each method.

Table of contents:

Acceptable Language Tests

You need to take at least one of the following tests for Express Entry, regardless of the immigration method.

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program  (Only CELPIP General)
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System (Only IELTS General)
  • PTE Core: Pearson Test of English
  • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
  • TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français

You only need to take one of the tests per language. Thus, if you present multiple test results under the same language, the officer considers the latest results. Unfortunately, they won’t combine the results. While taking the second language test is not mandatory, it could significantly enhance your Express Entry points.

IELTS, CELPIP, PTE: Which is Right for You?

Minimum Language Requirements for FSWP/FSWC

The following table shows the minimum scores you need for the Federal Skilled Worker Class. Of course, the more you receive, the better. However, you may not apply under this option if your score falls under the minimum, even for one language ability.

Test Language Speaking Listening Reading Writing
CELPIP English 7 7 7 7
IELTS General English 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
TEF Canada French 310 249 207 310
TCF Canada French 10 458 453 10

Minimum Language Requirements for CEC

The minimum language requirements for CEC depend on the NOC level of the applicant’s job experience. For your information, NOC refers to the Canadian National Occupational Classification system. Simply put, NOC divides jobs into several Skill Types and Skill Levels, known as NOC Matrix. If you want to know more about NOC, read the following article:

For this article, consider the following NOC levels:

 
The NOC 2021 V1.0 Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility (TEER) category
Management – TEER 0
Completion of a university degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate);
or
Previous experience and expertise in subject matter knowledge from a related occupation found in TEER 2 (when applicable).
1
Completion of a post-secondary education program of two to three years at a community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP;
or
Completion of an apprenticeship training program of two to five years;
or
Occupations with supervisory or significant safety (e.g. police officers and firefighters) responsibilities;
or
Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 3 (when applicable).
2
Completion of a post-secondary education program of fewer than two years at a community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP;
or
Completion of an apprenticeship training program of less than two years;
or
More than six months of on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience with some secondary school education;
or
Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 4 (when applicable).
3
Completion of secondary school;
or
Several weeks of on-the-job training with some secondary school education or
Experience in a related occupation from TEER 5 (when applicable).
4
Short work demonstration and no formal educational requirements. 5

Minimum Language Requirements for CEC, if Your Job is Skill Level 0 or 1

You need to take an official language test (either English or French) and meet the minimum requirements below for NOC 0 or 1.

Test Language Speaking Listening Reading Writing
CELPIP English 7 7 7 7
IELTS General English 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
TEF Canada French 310 249 207 310
TCF Canada French 10 458 453 10

Minimum Language Requirements for CEC, if Your Job is Skill Level 2 or 3

Test Language Speaking Listening Reading Writing
CELPIP English 5 5 5 5
IELTS General English 5.0 5.0 4.0 5.0
TEF Canada French 226 181 151 226
TCF Canada French 6 369 375 6

Minimum Language Requirements for FSTC/FSTP

The following table shows the minimum scores for the FSTC applicants under each ability of the test.

Test Language Speaking Listening Reading Writing
CELPIP English 5 5 4 4
IELTS General English 5.0 5.0 3.5 4.0
TEF Canada French 226 181 121 181
TCF Canada French 6 369 342 4

Remember, these figures could change at any time. Make sure to double-check them with other sources before making any decisions. Of course, knowledge of the English or French languages is one aspect of immigrating to Canada under the Express Entry system. It would be best if you met other criteria to apply.

You may consider reading the following articles as well:

NoteIRCC introduced category-based selection for Express Entry in May 2023. While members of the favoured categories have higher chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply, they must still meet the minimum requirements for Express Entry.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.