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Canada Updates Language Testing Rules for Student Visas and PR Applications



Good news for aspiring immigrants! The Canadian government has implemented changes to its language testing & immigration process, making it easier for some applicants to obtain permanent residency (PR) and some visas.

This update specifically targets the language testing requirement and introduces alternative proficiency exams for both student visas and permanent residence (PR) applications.


Changes in Language Testing Requirements

1. Student Direct Stream (SDS) Category

The Canadian government has ended the monopoly of IELTS for student visas under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) category.

This means that applicants no longer have to rely solely on IELTS scores to demonstrate their English proficiency when applying for a Canadian student visa. Instead, they now have the option to choose from a range of alternative language proficiency exams.

2. Non-Express Entry PR Applications

Furthermore, the requirement for language testing has been removed altogether in non-Express Entry PR applications. This change provides a smoother pathway for immigrants seeking permanent residence in Canada, eliminating the necessity for English language testing in certain immigration streams.


3. Express Entry Still Requires Language Testing

It’s important to note that Express Entry, a popular pathway for skilled immigrants, still mandates language testing. Applicants in this category must demonstrate English or French proficiency by taking an approved test.

More Options for Student Visa Applicants

The Canadian government has also expanded options for student visa applicants under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) category. Since last August, students can submit English language test results from various proficiency exams beyond the traditional IELTS test. These alternatives include:

  • MS Education Academy
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General
  • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Test
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Also Read: Canada: PTE Academic Added to Approved Language Tests for SDS Applications

Choosing the Right Language Test

While the changes offer more flexibility, navigating the different tests can be confusing. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • For PNP applications outside of Express Entry: No language test is required.
  • For Express Entry or SDS applications: Choose from IELTS, CELPIP General, PTE (Pearson Test of English), or TOEFL.

CELPIP General: A Convenient Option

The Canadian government offers several alternatives to IELTS, but CELPIP General might be the most convenient choice. This test is accepted for both permanent residency applications and student visas under the SDS category, eliminating the need to take separate exams.


With the Canadian government’s decision to open doors to alternative English language tests, applicants now have more options to demonstrate their language proficiency when applying for student visas and permanent residence in Canada.

Overall, these changes aim to simplify the immigration process for certain applicants while maintaining high standards for language proficiency in Canada.

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