Canada to Start Pearson Test of English for Immigration Applications

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The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on Thursday announced the approval of the Pearson Test of English (PTE) for Canadian immigration applications.

Starting in late 2023, PTE will join CELPIP and IELTS General Training as one of the three designated language tests that economic class candidates can complete to demonstrate their English language proficiency.

PTE Essential – A New English Language Test

According to the IRCC, Pearson has created the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Essential to meet IRCC’s language proficiency requirements for Canadian immigration applicants.

IRCC has different language criteria for study permit applicants, and thus international students generally need to take the “Academic” version of a language proficiency test.

With the approval of PTE Essential, there are now five total language tests available to economic class immigration candidates, along with three English language tests and two French language tests designated by IRCC.

Also Read: Canada Visa: IRCC Approved New Language Test For Immigration

IRCC Requirements for Language Proficiency Testing

IRCC requires economic class candidates to complete language proficiency testing to demonstrate their ability to economically establish themselves in Canada.

Research by Statistics Canada shows that strong proficiency in English and/or French language proficiency is a strong predictor of economic integration in Canada.

However, the IRCC has not yet specified when applicants can submit PTE Essential, but it anticipates that it will be towards the end of 2023.

Canadian Immigration Pathways and Language Requirements

Canada offers over 100 different pathways for economic class immigrants, with the leading admissions pathways being the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Express Entry.

Other economic class pathways such as IRCC pilot programs, the Atlantic Immigration Program, and Quebec skilled worker programs also require a language test designated by IRCC.

In addition to an IRCC-designated language test, candidates must achieve the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score set for a given pathway.

For example, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) requires a CLB of at least 7 in all four abilities (writing, reading, listening, and speaking).

The Future of Language Testing for Canadian Immigration

In 2022, an internal IRCC memo confirmed the approval of a new language test for Canadian immigration purposes and outlined potential language testing reforms the department was exploring.

Candidates receive more points the higher their CLB score is for certain pathways, such as those managed via Express Entry and expression of interest systems operated by the provinces and territories.

Is Pearson Test of English easier than IELTS?

There is no set level of difficulty between IELTS and the Pearson Test of English (PTE). Both exams assess writing, reading, listening, and speaking skills, but the format and number of questions can vary, causing one test to be easier for some individuals compared to the other. IELTS follows a fixed question format, while PTE utilizes an adaptive testing approach.

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