Are you planning to study abroad or immigrate? If your answer is yes, ample opportunities are awaiting you in countries like the US, UK, Germany or even Canada. If Canada is your choice, you will have to take the IELTS exam to prove your proficiency in English. So if you want to know what is the minimum IELTS score required for Canada immigration, read on. (source)

If you are planning to study abroad or pursue opportunities in Canada or other countries, you might have heard of the IELTS examination. But, do you know what IELTS is? Let us understand what this examination stands for-

What is IELTS?

The International English language testing system (IELTS) is the most common standardized English proficiency test across the globe. The IELTS examination is designed by leading language assessments and is taken by millions of individuals seeking higher education abroad every year.

This comprehensive English proficiency exam assesses your English skills in 4 different aspects: writing, reading, speaking and listening. The IELTS examination is a thorough demonstration of your ability to use English to study, at work, and in your everyday life abroad.

The IELTS is recommended for anyone hoping to further their education and expand on skills in English speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, UK, USA, and New Zealand. The exam is recognized and accepted by universities, employers, immigration consultancies and other professional organizations. (source)

IELTS Test Format

The IELTS test format is broken down into four parts: speaking, writing, listening and reading. There are two versions of the exam, tailored for either academic or general training. The total exam time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Listening and speaking categories are the same for both exam types; however, the subject matter for reading and writing varies depending on if you are interested in academic or general training.

Reading, writing and listening categories of the exam are all written on the same day with no breaks. The speaking component can be completed within a week before or after the other tests, according to the instructions shared by your testing organization. (source)

Minimum IELTS score for Canada immigration

In order to study or work in Canada, you must prove that you are proficient in English. This means that you have to get the minimum IELTS score required. So, what is a good IELTS score for Canada immigration? To understand that, we have to understand the immigration requirements.

Canada immigration requirements

Canada’s immigration system is a point-based framework that assigns points for various components one of which is your aptitude in the English language. A maximum of 24 points is awarded to those with most remarkable language proficiency.

To qualify for Canada PR visa, you should get 67 points out of 100 besides other factors like your age, educational training, work experience and language abilities.

The tables below will help you get a better understanding of the IELTS score requirements for a nurse to immigrate to Canada.

What is a good IELTS score for Canada immigration?

1.The Express Entry Program Application:

First official language (Maximum 24 points)

CLB Level Ability: Speaking Ability: Listening Ability: Reading Ability: Writing Ability: Points per ability
7 6.0 6.0-7.0 6.0 6.0 4
8 6.5 7.5 6.5 6.5 5
9 7.0 8.0 7.0 7.0 6
10 and above 7.5-9.0 8.5-9.0 8.0-9.0 8.0-9.0 6

2.For PR visa to migrate to Canada

Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Without an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 136)
For each language ability 34 points
CLB 3 or lower 0
CLB 4 6
CLB 5 6
CLB 6 9
CLB 7 17
CLB 8 23
CLB 9 31
CLB 10 or higher 34

3.Federal Skilled Worker Program – IELTS – First Official Language (Maximum: 24 points)

CLB Level Speaking Listening Reading Writing Points per availability
7 6.0 6.0-7.0 6.0 6.0 4
8 6.5 7.5 6.5 6.5 5
9 7.0 8.0 7.0 7.0 6
10+ 7.5-9.0 8.5-9.0 8.0-9.0 7.5-9.0 6

4.Federal Skilled Trades Program – IELTS

CLB Level Speaking Listening Reading Writing
10+ 8.5-9.0 8.0-9.0 7.5-9.0 7.5-9.0
9 8.0 7.0 7.0 7.0
8 7.5 6.5 6.5 6.5
7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
6 5.5 5.0 5.5 5.5
5 5.0 4.0 5.0 5.0
4 4.5 3.5 4.0 4.0

5.Canadian Experience Class – IELTS

NOC CLB Level Listening Reading Writing Speaking
0, A 10+ 8.5-9.0 8.0-9.0 7.5-9.0 7.5-9.0
0, A 9 8.0 7.0 7.0 7.0
0, A 8 7.5 6.5 6.5 6.5
0, A 7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
B 6 5.5 5.0 5.5 5.5
B 5 5.0 4.0 5.0 5.0

It is important to note that language proficiency is one of the prime factors that makes you eligible for CRS points. So, you must study hard and make sure that you get the minimum IELTS score for Canada immigration.

To study or immigrate to Canada, you must be skilled at either English or French. Besides accepting IELTS as the standard criteria to enter Canada, the Canadian government also allows the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program or CELPIP.

The most feasible option to immigrate to Canada is through the Canadian Express Entry Program. Once you have acquired the most aspired PR or Permanent Resident Visa, you become eligible for full-fledged citizenship of Canada. This you can achieve this within three years.

You need to appear for IELTS general training if you aspire to immigrate to Canada, UK or Australia.

You must complete Reading, Writing and Listening on the same day of the examination whereas the Speaking part can be completed either a week before or after the test.


Time duration: 30 minutes

You will have to listen to four different recordings and then answer a series of questions that follow. This part requires a lot of practice since you would have to multitask here.

Some tips to ace Listening

Some tips to ace listening-

  • Practice as much as you can.
  • In this part of the test, the speed of the person who speaks increases gradually, and it is necessary to keep pace with the speaker.
  • Cultivating a habit of active listening will help you handle this section well.
  • Read the instructions and questions before beginning this section.
  • Try to get an idea of the situation- Who are the speakers? Where are they? Why are they speaking?
  • Remember, you are allowed to hear the audio-only once.
  • And it is significant to know that you will be required to read, write and listen simultaneously. Look for ‘signpost words’ like however, although and finally. They help you to anticipate what the speaker will say.


Time duration: 60 minutes

This part comprises 40 questions that intend to test a wide range of reading skills. In this part, you are required to read to summarize, read to skim the vital parts, read for the main ideas, understand logical arguments, and identify the author’s opinions, attitude and the purpose behind the writing.

Some tips for ReadingSome tips for Reading-

1. Develop skills for every question type

It is essential to develop skills for every kind of questions. There are 40 questions in all; consistent practice will help you tackle every question thoroughly.

2. Learn to scan and skim

Skim through each text to try to get a basic understanding of what it is about. What is the text about? Who was it written for?

3. Read fast

Skimming is basically to read a passage in not more than 2-3 minutes. Post this, you need to gather a general idea about the entire passage. Most of the questions except one are given at the end of the passage. This helps you to skim read the passage before answering the questions. You may be able to get tips from books and articles written on how to improve reading speed.

4. Highlight keywords

You must remember to underline or highlight keywords. Take a quick glance at the questions before you read the text when doing this look for specific words like when, where, why, how, whom, how many, which, and so on.

5. Other relevant skills

The only question that you are asked before the passage is matching headings, and do this, you need not have to read the entire passage. The key skill here is the ability to scan and locate important information at the earliest. Carefully read the title and any sub-heading. Every paragraph contains a single main idea. The questions will concentrate on these main ideas. You must remember questions appear in the same order as the answers in the text. You should have the ability to skim read difficult passages. Hence practice is a must. You may read BBC news, The New Scientist or The Economist.

Enhance your vocabulary to tackle this section in IELTS well. Focus on complex words. Break them to fit into simpler forms for your understanding and memorize. Reading newspapers or/and English books increases the speed of reading which is essential to crack this section. Preparative resources, online platforms, flashcards and sample questionnaires give an idea of what type of questions to expect.

Tips for writingWriting-

Time duration: 60 minutes

You will be assigned two topics of general interest-

  • Presented with a situation and asked to write a letter soliciting information, or explaining the situation.
  • Write an essay in response to a problem, opinion or argument.

Tips for writing-

1. Planning is important

Plan and check your answers. Use the time, in the beginning, checking your understanding of the given question. Brainstorm. Lastly, spend some time at the end to check your grammar. Spend more time on Task 2 as more marks have been allotted to this. And this task requires at least 150 words, so you should spend 20 minutes on task 1 and 40 minutes on task 2.

2. Be clear

It is essential to write clearly. Though there are no marks for handwriting, the examiner would want your words to be legible.

3. Structure your thoughts

Organize your thoughts well. You should not present an incomprehensible canvas in front of the examiner.

4. Enhance your vocabulary

A good vocabulary not only plays a vital role in improving your reading skills but also your writing skills as well. The more you write, the more errors you would be able to spot errors. This way, both your writing skills and syntactic competency can be perfected.


Time duration: 11-14 minutes

This part of the examination will evaluate your English speaking abilities.

Tips to master Speaking-

1. Do not give incomplete answers.
2. Speak in a clear manner and don’t worry about your accent.
3. Articulate for better understanding.
4. Use descriptive words, such as thrilled instead of happy, or depressed instead of sad.
5. Don’t use slang – You have 11 – 14 minutes to display the best. Choose formal tone rather than an informal one.
6. Keep a steady pace – Don’t speak too fast or too slow.

What is the minimum IELTS score for Canada PR Visa?

The Express Entry Program, that is a point-based program takes care of the profiles of skilled immigrants. These individuals apply for Canada PR Visa under Canada’s economic immigration programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Program.

Once you are successful in creating an express profile, you get CRS scores. Based upon your language skills, you are awarded 170 points if you are applying with your spouse/partner, and 160 points if you are applying alone.

How can I apply for Canada PR if I have low IELTS score?

There are more than 60 immigration programs under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to help those who wish to immigrate to Canada. Express Entry Program is one such immigration programs. However, you need high language proficiency in case you want to apply for Canada PR visa.

The other immigration programs that allow you to apply for Canada PR visa in spite of a low IELTS score is Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Some of the PNPs with low IELTS test score requirements are-

  • Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP): You can apply for a Canada PR visa with a band score of 4.5
  • Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP): Minimum IELTS band score allowed in this program is 4.5
  • Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP): You can score as low as 4.5 and still apply for Canada PR visa.

Besides, you can apply for Canada PR visa with a CLB level 5 through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program or the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP).

Apart from checking if you have the minimum IELTS score for Canada immigration, you will be assessed on other criteria such as level of education, age, and work experience.

To gain permanent residency through Canada Express Entry, the minimum points is around 439, which was the cut off on 19th December 2018.

Other English tests accepted are the TEF test and CELPIP General.

However, to work in Canada, IELTS score requirements overall and for each band may differ. For example, to be a lawyer, a minimum score of 7.0 in each section of the IELTS is required. To be a nurse, you need a minimum overall score of 6.5 and 7.0 for Speaking.

Points to remember

  • All the programs need some minimum points or scores to qualify. So, you must prepare so that you get the minimum IELTS score for Canada immigration. Some programs give candidates more points for achieving a higher level in language proficiency.
  • There are also programs which require higher test scores depending on your profession. For example, the medical profession requires test scores of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 to qualify for Canada immigration.
  • For some Provincial Immigration Programs which target occupations that are in demand, require scores may be as low as CLB 4.
  • It is important to note that candidates with a high level of French may not need English proficiency and vice versa.
  • Programs generally ask for proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages. Proficiency means Intermediate abilities in the combination of reading, writing, speaking and understanding English.
  • However, under the Express Entry system, there are points given for a candidate’s first and second official language proficiency. Knowing both French and English will help you score more Express Entry points, but this is not a mandatory requirement.
  • Many of Canada’s immigration programs outside Quebec feature priority processing for French-speaking candidates. It has also been proved that the country is investing millions of dollars in driving up the number of French-speaking immigrants it welcomes.

We have listed the Express Entry Points for Languages below:

1.First Official Language Express Entry Points

Test Score With spouse Single
CLB 4 (L4.5, R3.5, W4, S4) or 5 (R4, 5 in all others) 6 6
CLB 6 (5 in Reading, 5.5 in all others) 8 9
CLB 7 (6 in all four abilities) 16 17
CLB 8 (7.5 in Listening, 6.5 in all others) 22 23
CLB 9 (8 in Listening, 7 in all others) 29 31
CLB ≥ 10 (L8.5, R8, W7.5, S7.5) 32 34

2.Second Official Language Express Entry Points

Test score With spouse Single
CLB 5 or 6 1 1
CLB 7 or 8 3 3
CLB ≥ 9 6 6

3.Additional Combination Points for Strong French Language

Test Score With spouse Single
CLB 7 in French and CLB 4 or less for English 15 15
CLB 7 in French and CLB 5 or higher for English 30 30

4.Language requirement by programs-

a) What are the language requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program?

You must obtain a minimum level of CLB or NCLC 7 for your first official language in all four language areas. To receive points for your second official language, you must meet the minimum level of CLB or NCLC 5 in all four language areas.

b)What are the language requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program?

You must obtain a minimum level of:
• CLB or NCLC 5 in speaking and listening abilities, and
• CLB or NCLC 4 in reading and writing abilities.

c) What are the language requirements for the Canadian Experience Class?

The skills you need for this program will depend on the job classification under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC):

• NOC 0 or A: CLB / NCLC 7 +
• NOC B: CLB / NCLC 5 and 6

d) What are the language requirements for Canadian Citizenship?

  • All applicants for Canadian citizenship aged 18-54 must submit proof that they have adequate knowledge of English or French. So make sure you get the minimum IELTS score for Canada immigration.
  • If you decide to submit any other language test, the results must be equal to CLB / NCLC level 4 or higher in speaking and listening abilities.
  • The federal authorities also accept expired test results if they were done for immigration or citizenship purposes.


Irrespective of the minimum language requirements needed to qualify, immigration programs in Canada are moving towards an expression of interest system. The federal express entry system works in this manner. The provinces of Saskatchewan and Quebec have recently introduced similar systems under their provincial immigration programs.

Of course, you should aim for the minimum IELTS score for Canada immigration. But it is important for all candidates who intend to apply for immigration to Canada, take all efforts to attain the highest language scores possible.  This will increase your overall ranking scores and thus your chances to immigrate to Canada. (source)