Minimum Canadian Language Benchmark Results to Get Express Entry

Are you planning to immigrate to Canada? Perhaps you want to apply through the Express Entry system. If so, you would need to meet a few requirements, which includes scoring above the minimum results for the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). Find out everything you need to know about this language test so that you can be on your way to Canada.

What is the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)?

The CLB describes 12 levels of ability in four different language skills, namely:

  1. Listening
  2. Speaking
  3. Reading
  4. Writing

The CLB is used in Canada to describe the language ability of people who are learning the English language.

CLB Requirements for Express Entry

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To be eligible for Canada’s Express Entry system, you need to prove your English or French language ability. To prove this, you need to:

  • Take an approved language test;
  • Obtain the minimum results to pass, required by your program; and
  • Include the results of your test when you complete your Express Entry profile

What’s in the language test?

The language test assess these abilities in the English or French language:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

The following are used to evaluate your English or French language abilities:

  • Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) for English
  • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens for French

The CLB describes 12 levels of ability in four different language skills, namely:

  1. Listening
  2. Speaking
  3. Reading
  4. Writing

The CLB is used in Canada to describe the language ability of people who are learning the English language.

The various immigration programs have their own criteria that you need to meet for the language test.

Find out what you need to score for your program, by taking a look at each program’s criteria below:

The CLB describes 12 levels of ability in four different language skills, namely:

  1. Listening
  2. Speaking
  3. Reading
  4. Writing

The CLB is used in Canada to describe the language ability of people who are learning the English language.

Federal Skilled Worker Program
LanguageMinimum level of all 4 abilities (First Official Language)
English CLB 7
French NCLC7
Minimum level of all 4 abilities (Second Official Language)
English CLB 5
French NCLC 5

Here, the skills you need will depend on which group your job is classified under, according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Canadian Experience Class
NOC skill level Minimum level of all 4 abilities (English) Minimum level of all 4 abilities (French)
NOC 0 or A CLB 7 NCLC 7
NOC B CLB 5 NCLC 5
Federal Skilled Trades Program
Language Abilities Minimum level
English Speaking and listening CLB 5
English Reading and writing CLB 4
French Speaking and listening NCLC 5
French Reading and writing NCLC 4

How long are language test results valid for?


Your test results must be less than two years old when you apply for permanent residency through Canada’s Express Entry system.

Once you have been invited to apply for permanent residency, check that your language test results will still be valid by the time you plan to apply.

If your results are due to expire, you may want to consider taking one of the following steps:

  • Take the language test again or
  • Apply for permanent residency before your test results expire or
  • Decline the invitation to apply for permanent residency and go back into the Express Entry pool to be considered in the future

Top Tips to Prepare for your language test

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Give yourself a good chance of passing the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test by using some of the many helpful resources available to prepare.

Here is one example of important steps you can take to up your chance of immigration to Canada:

1. Practice an unofficial language test online

Practice your language skills by taking a test online. Websites like CLB-OSA allow you to assess yourself online as well as see your test results so that you can have a good idea of what you still need to know or whether you are set and ready to take the official test.

2. Receive and understand your CLB score

Once you have completed your online test, your CLB results will display on the screen immediately. A drop-down menu will show a list of what a person should be able to do in English at that particular CLB Score. Having an estimate of your CLB score can be very helpful when planning your language learning and making decisions based on this.

FAQs: All About Canadian Language Benchmark

What IELTS score is required for Permanent residence in Canada?

You need to have a minimum score of six in your IELTS to qualify for any immigration programs to Canada. An IELTS score of 6 is equal to a CLB seven.

What is the meaning of CLB 4?

If you are between the ages of 18 and 54, you must meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks level 4 or higher in speaking and listening to be eligible to apply for permanent residence.

How do you calculate your language points?

  1. Convert your IELTS to the equivalent CLB level
  2. Assign the appropriate number of points for that CLB level
  3. Add all the points per ability to obtain your language score points

Passing your benchmark test is certainly possible, especially with the range of online resources available that you can use to prepare. Make your chances of immigration to Canada even higher by letting us guide you through the process of immigrating to Canada and all that comes with it.