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Language Testing for Immigration to Canada


Even though Canada’s two official languages are English and French, many Canadians do not speak either of these languages as their first language.  Just over 55 percent of the population of Canada is native English speakers, while native French speakers account for 20 percent.  This means that nearly a quarter of the people who live in Canada are not native speakers of English or French.  Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, and Tagalog are the most widely spoken languages in Canada after English and French, but dozens of other languages are also represented among Canada’s population.  Demonstrating proficiency in English or French is a requirement for many immigrant and nonimmigrant visa categories, which means that applicants must submit the results of an approved language proficiency test along with other application documents.  To ensure that you are complying with the language testing requirements for the visa category for which you are applying, contact a Mississauga Canadian immigration lawyer.

Components of the CELPIP

The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) is one of the most widely used English language proficiency tests for purposes of Canadian immigration.  The test measures the applicant’s proficiency level in listening, reading, writing, and speaking.  You can take the CELPIP test in a single, three-hour session.  The test is available at designated testing centers throughout the world.  These are more detailed descriptions of the components of the test:

  • The writing section takes 53-60 minutes. You must write paragraph-length or essay-length responses to prompts.
  • The reading section lasts 55-60 minutes and has 39 questions. You must read correspondence and texts that do not contain specialized technical vocabulary.
  • The speaking section takes 15-20 minutes. The tasks you must complete include giving advice, expressing opinions, comparing and contrasting, and exercising tact in a difficult situation.
  • The listening section takes 47-55 minutes. You must demonstrate comprehension of ordinary conversations, news items, and expression of opinions and arguments.

When you apply for naturalization, you must take a one-hour version of the CELPIP that includes listening and speaking proficiency only.

The Role of the CELPIP Test in Your Canada Immigration Application

While many different immigration categories, from employment-related visas to permanent residency, require proficiency testing, the minimum score you must receive for your immigration application to be considered varies according to the visa category for which you are applying.  If you are applying for employment-based immigration as a practitioner of a highly learned profession, then your proficiency level must be higher than if you are applying as a skilled laborer, for example.  Some employment-based visas are province specific, but even if you are applying to a province other than Quebec, you can take the TEF Canada instead of the CELPIP if you are more proficient in French than in English.

Contact Zagazeta Garcia LLP About Immigrating to Canada

A Canadian immigration lawyer can help you navigate the language proficiency requirements and other requirements of your application for immigration to Canada.  Contact Zagazeta Garcia LLP in Mississauga, Ontario to discuss your case.




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