FAQs: What is the Minimum CLB Score for Express Entry?

When thinking of immigrating to Canada, Express Entry is often immigrants’ first thought. This is because the Express Entry system has a goal of inviting 110,500 foreign nationals as permanent residents in 2022.

Now, although almost anyone can apply through Canada’s Express Entry system, there are a few requirements you’ll have to meet. One of the main criteria is achieving the minimum CLB Score for Express Entry.

Let’s have a look at exactly what that means for you.

What is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)?


The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) is used to show your English language proficiency within 12 levels and four different language skills, namely; Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. You will receive a benchmark score for each skill which will then indicate how well you function in that language skill.

There are three stages in the CLB. They are:

  1. Stage I - Benchmark 1-4 ;
  2. Stage 2 -Benchmark 5-8; and
  3. Stage 3 - Benchmark 9-12.

See below for a visual presentation of the above.


Each Canadian immigration program has language requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to apply. The Express Entry system is no different.

What CLB score do I need for Express Entry?

The minimum score you’ll need to achieve to be eligible for Express Entry is at least CLB 7 under the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This would be 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

IELTS tests foreign nationals’ English levels when applying for immigration, work or studies in Canada. You’re able to determine your CLB through the following designated testing organizations as well:

  • Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF Canada);
  • Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada);
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP); and
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Below are minimum CLB Score for Express Entry under each program:

Express Entry - CLB
Program Required CLB scores
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) CLB 7 or higher
Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP) CLB 5 or higher for speaking and listening CLB 4 or higher for reading and writing
Canadian Experience Class (CEC) CLB 7 or higher if your NOC is 0 or A CLB 5 or higher if your NOC is B

How does the CLB work?

When you take one of the approved language tests you’ll receive a certain result. You’ll then determine your CLB results based on the scores you received on your language test. The higher you score in your test the higher your CLB levels. And the higher your CLB levels the more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points your Express Entry profile receives.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an online immigration system that is one of the biggest immigration gateways to Canada. When you apply through Express Entry you may be eligible for one of three programs. They are:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program;
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program; and
  3. Canadian Experience Class.

Once you’ve submitted your online profile the Immigration, Refugee and Canadian Citizenship (IRCC) will determine which program you qualify for. After this, you’ll be placed into the Express Entry pool and ranked according to your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. The CRS score you receive is based on factors such as:

  • additional factors like having a sibling in Canada;
  • your language proficiency in English, French, or both; and
  • your education level.

If you meet or exceed the specific CRS score of an Express Entry draw, then you’ll receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

What is an ITA?

An ITA is an invitation that gives you the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residency. In most cases, if all goes well with your application, you may receive permanent residency within six months.

Good to know!

Express Entry is one the fastest ways to get Canadian permanent residency.

Let’s have a look at the most frequently asked questions on Express Entry.


FAQ 1: What happens if I don’t get an ITA?

The great benefit about the Express Entry pool is that if you don’t succeed the first time, that’s okay. This is because your profile will remain in the pool for one year during which you can do several things to improve your score.

FAQ 2: If my CRS score is above the cut-off score, how long will it take for my ITA?

To receive your Invitation to Apply (ITA), it can take up to 24 hours before it appears in your IRCC account.

Please note that when you do receive your ITA you will only have 60 days to complete your application, so it’s best to start collecting your documents while you wait for the ITA.

FAQ 3: What are the requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)?

To be eligible for this program, you must:

  • Have a minimum of 1 year of continuous, qualified work experience within the past 10 years;
  • Have at least a high school diploma;
  • Meet the minimum level of language proficiency;
  • In your primary language (English or French), you must at least score the equivalent of CLB 7 in all abilities;
  • For the secondary language (English or French), you must at least score the equivalent of CLB 5 in all abilities;
  • 67 points in the eligibility grid; and
  • Have enough funds available to support you and your family members upon approval.

FAQ 4: What are Express Entry jobs in demand?

Here are a few eligible occupations for federal skilled workers under Express Entry which include civil engineers, human resource managers and legislators:

Eligible Federal Skilled Worker Occupations
NOC Code Occupation
0011 Legislators
0112 Human Resource Manager
0132 Postal and courier services managers
2131 Civil Engineers
2132 Mechanic Engineer
2175 Web Designers and Developers
6311 Food Service Supervisors
7204 Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades

FAQ 5: Can I apply for Express Entry without a job offer?

In most cases, you don’t need a job offer. However, you’ll need one if you:

  • are eligible for either the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Federal Skilled Trades Program; and
  • don’t have enough money to support yourself and your family in Canada.

Good to know!

Even though a job isn’t necessary it’s a good idea to get one as it will earn you more CRS points on your application.

Immigrating to Canada as a Foreign National


When you move to Canada as a permanent resident through Express Entry, you and your family qualify for several benefits. These benefits include free public schooling for your children, incredible universal healthcare, wonderful working benefits for yourself and so much more.

Now that you’re aware of the minimum CLB Score for Express Entry and you know the advantages of moving to Canada, the next thing to do is start your Canadian immigration process with CanadianVisa.org.

Are you eligible?