On 1 February 2023, the Canadian immigration service has announced that it would accept the Pearson Test of English (PTE) as a language test for obtaining an economic immigrant visa. To obtain this visa, applicants must pass a language test. In all likelihood, the test will be made available in mid-2023.
PTE language test available mid-2023
In early February, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that it would start accepting the Pearson Test of English as a language test in the immigration visa application process. From mid-2023, this language test will be one of the English language test applicants can choose from to demonstrate their English proficiency, alongside the CELPIP and IELTS General Training.
The language test in question, the so-called “PTE Essential,” is a new language test. Pearson has developed this language test especially to test whether the language proficiency of an applicant for a certain visa type meets the requirements of the IRCC. The IRCC language proficiency requirements applicants have to meet are different for each visa. For example, international students who want to study in Canada temporarily on a student visa often have to pass the academic version of a language test.
Language test mandatory for application immigrant visa
Before an application for an immigrant visa can be finalised, the IRCC requires applicants to pass a language proficiency test. In addition, applicants must have sufficient financial resources to immigrate to Canada. As such, they must be able to prove to Canadian authorities that they can settle in Canada from a financial point of view. Statistics have shown that a high level of proficiency in one of the official languages of the country (English or French) contributes to a high level of economic integration in Canada.
Based on the level of language proficiency of an applicant, it is determined in which category the immigrant visa is applied for. For each category, there is a minimum level of language proficiency applicants need to have, the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). Based on the level of an IRCC-approved language test, the language proficiency level of an applicant can be determined. The minimum score that applicants generally need to achieve in order to apply for an immigrant visa is 4. People who want to immigrate to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), for example, have to obtain a score of at least 7 in all categories (reading, listening, speaking and writing).
Multiple pathways available for immigration to Canada
For applicants seeking an economic immigrant visa, Canada has approximately 100 different pathways. The main admission pathways, according to the Immigration Levels Plan 2023–2025, are the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the Express Entry Program. The PNP program is meant for skilled workers seeking to settle in a certain province in Canada. Most Canadian provinces have this type of PNP pathway, but they may differ from one another. Through the Express Entry Program, a Skilled Migrant Visa can be obtained. This program is meant for people who can fill in specific gaps in the Canadian labour market.
These kinds of pathways work with a points system. Before they can apply for permanent residency, applicants need to obtain a certain number of points. Again, language proficiency is important for this, as applicants are given more points if their CLB score is higher.
No language test required for online eTA application
British and Irish travellers who do not want to immigrate to Canada, but only travel to the country for a holiday, a short business or study trip, or to visit family and/or friends do not have to pass a language test. In many cases, they can use the the electronic travel authorisation for Canada, the eTA. Applicants for an eTA Canada are not required to take a language test. They do need to meet other requirements. An eTA Canada is required for all travellers flying to Canada, except if they have another valid visa or a Canadian or US passport. Keep in mind that children need to have their own passport and valid travel authorisation as well.
The application procedure for the eTA Canada is entirely online. The only thing you need to do is complete the application form and pay the costs. Afterwards, your application is immediately processed and vetted by Canadaʼs immigration service, the IRCC. The eTA costs € 24,95 and is granted within 5 days on average. However, should you need the eTA sooner, you can also use an urgent application for an additional € 17,50. In that case, an average delivery time of only 18 minutes applies.