What Are the Required IELTS Scores or Bands to Obtain a Canadian PR Visa?

Thanks to good job prospects and higher living standards, Canada is among the most livable countries. If you are thinking of immigrating to Canada, you need to become a permanent resident (PR), for which you must clear the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum band score. Learn more about it in this article.

Channels to apply for a Canadian PR visa

The Canadian government plans on admitting over 1.2 million new PRs from 2021 to 2023. This is a fantastic chance for anyone who wants to become a Canadian citizen, but the Canadian government has stringent conditions for accepting immigration petitions. There are several channels to apply for a PR visa, each with its own criteria:

  1. Express entry immigration: One of the simplest online immigration channels; applications must be made within 60 days of receiving the invitation to apply (ITA).
  2. Family sponsorship: This immigration procedure allows people to sponsor selected relatives to immigrate to Canada.
  3. Quebec Skilled Immigration Program: Quebec has its special immigration system that permits it to choose skilled immigrants who will help its economy grow.
  4. Atlantic Immigration Pilot: This programme is for qualified foreign workers and international graduates.
  5. Business immigration programme: This is for entrepreneurs, business owners, and self-employed people who want to create new opportunities in local markets.
  6. Study visa: A study visa is mostly granted to students wishing to pursue higher studies in Canada.
  7. Work permit: Under this system, a temporary visa can be converted to a permanent visa after gaining some relevant work experience.
  8. Refugees and asylum seekers: The Canadian government has designed this to ensure safety and protection for its refugees and asylum seekers.
  9. Humanitarian and compassionate grounds: This programme applies to people in unusual circumstances who cannot apply to become a PR in normal situations.

What is the IELTS score requirement?

Canada follows a points-based system for immigration selection. A set of points is allocated for each profile factor, such as qualifications, age, work experience, and language proficiency. The total points earned for each factor make a cumulative profile score. If that score is above a minimum standard, the applicant will get an ITA for the desired visa. Then, the applicant is given a timeframe to submit the application and other documents.

As English is Canada’s official language, proficiency in it is crucial for becoming a PR. The IELTS, most commonly used to determine Canadian immigrants’ English proficiency, assesses reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The scores in each of the IELTS sections are then translated into Canadian language benchmarks (CLBs) for better comparison.

CLB-IELTS equivalency

CLB pointsReadingListeningWritingSpeaking

Each channel for gaining permanent residence in Canada has a different requirement for CLB or IELTS scores. As express entry immigration is the most commonly sought channel for a PR visa, let’s discuss it‌ in detail.

There are three programmes under express entry immigration: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The FSWP requires a minimum of 7 CLB points, which means an IELTS score of 6 in each of the four sections.

For the FSTP, the applicant has to score 5 CLB points for listening and speaking and 4 for writing and reading, equivalent to an IELTS score of 5 for listening and speaking and 4 for writing and reading.

In the case of the CEC, the applicant has to score a minimum of 7 CLB points for NOC skill level 0 and A jobs, equivalent to 6 in each section of the IELTS. For NOC skill level 0 and B jobs, the candidate has to score a minimum of 5 CLB points, equivalent to the minimum IELTS band score of 4 for reading and 5 for the remaining three sections.

Surprisingly, the IELTS score required for a Canadian PR visa under other existing immigration channels is lower. Candidates with low IELTS scores might use these programmes to obtain a Canadian PR visa.


Above are the basic requirements in terms of IELTS score or bands to immigrate to Canada. Best of luck with your IELTS exam preparations to obtain a PR visa to Canada.

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