Canadian Language Benchmark and IELTS

IELTS is used by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as evidence of one’s ability to communicate in English. The CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) test scores are an alternative to IELTS. In Canada, the national standards used for describing, measuring and recognizing the English language proficiency of prospective immigrants are The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB).

Below is a table that shows the IELTS scores needed for each CLB level.

Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Reading Writing Listening Speaking
10 8.0 7.5 8.5 7.5
9 7.0 7.0 8.0 7.0
8 6.5 6.5 7.5 6.5
7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
6 5.0 5.5 5.5 5.5
5 4.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
4 3.5 4.0 4.5 4.0

Different types of immigration program require different language benchmark, as shown below.

Visa category Minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) required (May 2015)
The Federal Skilled Worker Program CLB 7
The Federal Skilled Trades Program CLB 5 for speaking and listening, CLB 4 for reading and writing
The Canadian Experience Class CLB 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs, CLB 5 for NOC B jobs
Business start-up visa CLB 5
Provincial Nominee Programs CLB 4 for NOC C and D jobs

When applying for Canadian citizenship, submission of one’s IELTS scores is also one of the several ways to prove one’s proficiency in an official language. (minimum of CLB level 4 required)

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