Federal skilled workers selection criteria: Official language proficiency

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Applications received before May 4, 2013

For federal skilled workers, a maximum of 24 points should be awarded for proficiency in English and French [R79] as follows:

  • a maximum of 16 points for proficiency in the first official language (identified by the principal applicant on the application form); and
  • a maximum of 8 points for proficiency in the second official language.

Language points to award

For first official language

Proficiency level Reading Writing Listening Speaking
High proficiency (i.e. CLB 8 or higher) 4 4 4 4
Moderate proficiency (i.e. CLB 6 and 7) 2 2 2 2
Basic proficiency (i.e. CLB 4 and 5)
*to a maximum of 2 points
1 1 1 1
No proficiency (i.e. below CLB 4) 0 0 0 0

For second official language

Proficiency level Reading Writing Listening Speaking
High proficiency (i.e. CLB 8 or higher) 2 2 2 2
Moderate proficiency (i.e. CLB 6 and 7) 2 2 2 2
Basic proficiency (i.e. CLB 4 and 5)
*to a maximum of 2 points
1 1 1 1
No proficiency (i.e. below CLB 4) 0 0 0 0

Applications received on or after May 4, 2013

Pursuant to paragraph R75(2)(d), the applicant must demonstrate that they meet or exceed the threshold set by the Minister for proficiency in either English or French for each of the four language skill areas: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The applicant must identify in their application for permanent residence which language—English or French—is to be considered their first official language in Canada.

The current language proficiency threshold set by the Minister is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.

Applicants must demonstrate that they meet the required level of language proficiency in all four language skill areas by submitting the results of an English or French language test from a designated testing organization with their application.

In the case of applications received before January 1, 2015, the language test results must be less than two years old at the time the application is received by CIC.

In the case of applications received after January 1, 2015 (i.e., through Express Entry), language test results must be less than two years old when a candidate submits their Express Entry profile, and when their application for permanent residence is received.

Language test results will be used as conclusive evidence of an applicant’s language proficiency pursuant to subsection R74(7). Other electronic or written evidence will not be considered.

As of January 1, 2015, the public policy concerning economic class permanent residence applicants and Express Entry candidates whose language proficiency cannot be tested in all four language skill areas due to a physical or mental disability exempts both the principal applicant and their accompanying spouse or common-law partner from having to provide evaluation results from a designated organization or institution in up to three of four language skill areas. Instead, CIC will accept notionalized scores using a language calculator tool. The language evaluation results, both those that could be completed and the notionalized score(s), must be considered in the same manner as any other language evaluation results.

Pursuant to subsection R79(3), officers should assess the application and award the applicant up to a maximum of 28 points for official language proficiency as follows:

  • a maximum of 24 points for proficiency in the first official language identified by the principal applicant:
    • 4 points per language skill area if their proficiency meets the threshold set by the Minister [R79(3)(a)(i)],
    • 5 points per language skill area if their proficiency exceeds the threshold set by the Minister for that language skill area by one benchmark level [R79(3)(a)(ii)],
    • 6 points per language skill area if their proficiency exceeds the threshold set by the Minister for that language skill area by at least two benchmark levels [R79(3)(a)(iii)]; and
  • a maximum of 4 points for proficiency in the second official language if the applicant’s proficiency in that language meets or exceeds CLB 5 in each of the four language skill areas [R79(3)(b)]. If the applicant does not meet CLB 5 in one or more of the language skill areas, they cannot be awarded points for second official language proficiency.

Note: In order to claim points for proficiency in their second official language, the applicant must submit original language test results from a designated testing agency of their proficiency in that language with their application [R79(2)]. This requirement is made clear in the application guide; applicants will not be afforded an opportunity to provide official language test results at a later stage in the process.

Evidence of language proficiency

For more information, see the following:

Date Modified: