CLB / NCLC … ?!

A crucial step to complete before immigrating, studying or working in Canada, a candidate must provide a proof of his language proficiency level, without which the process cannot be completed, and the application will be rejected.

Canada accepts specific language tests, delivered by authorized centers, and have a validity period of only 2 years, after which the candidate must re-take the test. These are taken in both languages, English and/or French, the official languages of Canada, and are:

For Immigration and work purposes:

  • CELPIP – General Test (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)
  • IELTS – General Training (International English Language Testing System)
  • TEF Canada (Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada)
  • TCF Canada (Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada)
  • TEFaQ (Test d’évaluation de français au Québec) – This test is accepted by Québec only.

For Studying purposes:

Each learning institution and depending on the study program the candidate is planning to pursue, the language tests accepted, and the minimum score required, is determined by that institution. Some programs for instance Law studies or Journalism require higher language proficiency levels.

To make it less complicated, the scores of each language test is converted into a standard scale. The latter, for English tests is called CLB (Canadian Language Benchmarks) whereas for French tests it is NCLC (Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens).

For example, a candidate who wants to immigrate under the Express Entry – Federal Skilled workers program where his work experience is acquired under a NOC A job (National Occupation Classification) must provide a language test results of minimum CLB 7. Converting this to its IELTS-General training results means he must have achieved band 6 out of 9 in all components of the test (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking). In case if this candidate did not get the required CLB level, he cannot apply to this program as he is ineligible. On the other hand, if he achieved a higher level, he will acquire more CRS points (Comprehensive Ranking system), which increases his chances to be chosen from the Pool of Candidates.

Interested in knowing more how the CLB and NCLC equivalency chart works, you can refer to the Government website here.

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