News report | | 10-08-2022 | ±2 minutes reading time

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently approved a new language test for anyone applying for an immigration visa in the economic category. The IRCC hopes to introduce this test in early to mid-2023.

Language test essential for integration in Canada

Most Canadian immigration programmes require candidates to pass an English or French language test before they can be admitted to Canada. According to a study by the Canadian government, speaking the language is vital for integrating into Canadian society and the economy.

At this time, the IRCC is still convinced that the number of certified testing organisations is sufficient to meet the demand of immigrants and Canadian citizens. However, due to the increasing number of organisations applying for accreditation as language testing providers, the IRCC is subject to change. The process to accredit an organisation as a testing site is currently cumbersome, time-consuming, and difficult to monitor. In fact, there are currently only four accredited testing organisations in Canada: TEF and TCF for French and IELTS and CELPIP for English.

Plan of approach for IRCC

In the coming year, the IRCC will look for initiatives and improvements to make the designation process more flexible for organisations. Once these improvements are implemented, it is expected that the number of organisations interested in this designation will increase. For now, the IRCC may enter into as many contractual agreements with potential language test providers as it wishes.

There are no clear definitions yet of the roles and responsibilities of organisations in relation to language testing, which has implications for the work and policies within an organisation. Thus, the language team within the immigration department of the IRCC needs to find a balance between the tasks on file and the new policy priorities.

Similarities of CLB and CEFR

The IRCC is currently actively researching the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), which some feel may be too specific for exam purposes compared to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). .

Candidates taking the CEFR test are assessed on an alphabetical scale instead of a scale of one to seven, namely A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. Additional research on the CLB levels is needed from the IRCC to ensure that all approved language test constructions match in terms of difficulty and examination objectives.

No language test required when applying for an eTA Canada

Tourists who are only travelling to Canada for a holiday, business trip or to visit family or friends are not required to take a language test. However, they must be in possession of a valid eTA Canada. The eTA Canada is an electronic travel authorisation that allows visa-free travel to Canada. Please note that minors must also have their own eTA. An eTA is valid for up to five years and within this period of validity you may make an unlimited number of trips to Canada. An eTA allows you to stay in Canada for up to six consecutive months.