News Release – Improvements to proof of language rules will increase fairness, reduce delays, says Immigration Minister

Ottawa, March 10, 2010 — The Government of Canada is streamlining the process for assessing the language skills of applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker and Canadian Experience classes, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

The language requirements themselves have not changed,” said Minister Kenney. “But beginning April 10, 2010, prospective immigrants will be required to prove their English and French language abilities at the time they apply. This requirement supports our commitment to fast, fair and efficient application processing.

Previously, to prove language ability in French or English, applicants could either submit an independent, third-party test or a written submission to a visa officer. The written submission was intended for people whose first language is either English or French. However, many applicants whose first language was not English or French were taking advantage of the written submission. The submission wouldn’t adequately prove their ability and they would have to provide further evidence, leading to processing delays that could take months.

We expect that applicants will have the language skills they claim on their application. Now, applicants in these categories will have only one opportunity to prove their language ability,” said Minister Kenney. “They can still make a written submission to a visa officer if they wish, but only once.

For faster, fairer processing, all applicants are encouraged to submit independent, third-party language test results. The language test gives applicants a clear indication of their ability before they apply. When submitting written proof, applicants don’t know what their results will be until their application is assessed by the visa officer, after a formal application and fees are lodged with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

We strongly encourage applicants whose first language isn’t English or French to take a language test,” said Minister Kenney. “We don’t want immigrants to be surprised if their written submission doesn’t match their reported ability, and they don’t get the desired assessment.

An immigrant’s English or French language ability is one of the strongest predictors of their success in the job market. Canadian Experience Class applicants must meet minimum language requirements based on the job they do. On a selection grid worth 100 points in total, Federal Skilled Workers can be awarded up to 24 points for their official language ability.

Further information about language requirements for applicants is available at www.cic.gc.ca.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Alykhan Velshi
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-952-1650
CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca

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