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  • Amir Akhtar

Canada immigration: Where you can now take an English test

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

IELTS is now available in 89 countries while CELPIP is available in its 6 countries of operation.

English language testing is now more readily available for those who want to submit a Canadian immigration application.

The two English language tests recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are the IELTS General Training and the CELPIP. Candidates need to complete either exam in order to submit an Express Entry profile or apply for permanent residence under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or one of Canada’s other federal or provincial programs.

Immigration candidates experienced difficulties completing their English testing requirements at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 resulted in government-ordered lockdowns around the world. The operators of IELTS and CELPIP complied with local laws so they could not offer their tests to immigration candidates at the time.

However, IELTS and CELPIP are now more readily available as governments have eased their lockdown restrictions in recent months.

Health and safety measures are in place at both IELTS and CELPIP test sites in order to protect immigration candidates and administrators of the tests. These include regularly cleaning their venues, using masks and gloves, and maintaining social distancing measures in test rooms.

IELTS availability

IELTS states on its website that its General Training exams are presently available in 89 countries.

The tests are available in popular Canadian permanent residence source countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada (many permanent residents already live in Canada as former international students or foreign workers), China, Colombia, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, South Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK, Vietnam, and many others.

Where you can take CELPIP

CELPIP is now offered in all 6 countries of its operation.

These countries are Canada, the US, China, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, and India.

More CELPIP dates have become available across the United States. The U.S. has become an increasingly larger source of immigrants to Canada in recent years.

Canadian immigration options during COVID-19

The resumption of IELTS and CELPIP operations plus the return of all-program draws is a welcome opportunity for more candidates to go ahead with their Canadian immigration application.

At the start of the pandemic, it was challenging for many candidates to submit their completed application or enter the Express Entry pool.

Moreover, some candidates may have delayed their test date or Express Entry submission due to the absence of all-program Express Entry draws. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) typically accounts for the most number of successful Express Entry applicants, however between March and early July, IRCC was only holding Express Entry draws for Canadian Experience Class and PNP candidates.

There have been two draws since July that have included FSWP candidates including a draw last week.

Hence, it may be in a candidate’s best interests to complete their English language test and submit their Canadian immigration application now. Doing so will help them to avoid unnecessary delays in eventually coming to Canada if their application is successful.

In fact, if you obtain a provincial nomination through an Express Entry-aligned stream, or if your Comprehensive Ranking System score is high enough without a provincial nomination, you may be fortunate enough to obtain an invitation to apply for permanent residence within a short time of entering the Express Entry pool.

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