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IRCC now accepting Pearson Test of English for Canadian immigration

As of January 30th, 2024, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Core test will now be accepted for all immigration pathways, except for the Student Direct Stream (SDS).

This means that Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates, candidates in Express Entry managed programs, and those needing a language test for any other Canadian immigration purposes (outside of the SDS)—including applying for Canadian citizenship—can now take the PTE Core.

What is the PTE Core?

The PTE core is a computer-based language test with specific emphasis on proving general English ability for Canadian immigration. The test assesses everyday English skills in speaking, writing, reading and listening within a time limit of two hours. Testing centres can be found around the world, with over 400 locations globally.

According to Pearson’s website, the test is scored by both humans and AI to reduce the risk of bias. Test results can be obtained within two days.

The PTE Core is divided into three parts:

  • Speaking and writing (50 minutes);

  • Reading (30 minutes); and

  • Listening (30 minutes).

The PTE Core replaces the previous PTE Essential test, which was approved for Canadian immigration last year. It should be noted that Pearson (like other approved language testing organisations) offers multiple types of tests (i.e. PTE Academic). Immigration candidates are advised to make sure they complete the correct test for their chosen program.

Five accepted language tests

With the addition of the PTE Core there are now five total language tests that are accepted by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for immigration purposes. These are:

  • CELPIP General Test (English);

  • IELTS General Training (English);

  • PTE Core (English);

  • TEF Canada (French); and

  • TCF Canada (French).

All five of these tests assess language ability within four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Based on the specific program that candidates apply under, they may need to meet different criteria within these four skills.

For example, immigration candidates applying under Express Entry-managed programs will need different scores based on which program they choose. Under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates require a minimum CLB level of 7 for all language skills. However, under the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates require a minimum CLB level of 5 for speaking and listening, and at least a level 4 for reading and writing. Further, under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates need either a minimum CLB level 7, or level 5 across all language abilities, based on the National Occupation Classification (NOC) skill level of their job.


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