What's a CLB?

In most cases, applicants for permanent residence in Canada need to prove their language skills in English or French. To do so, they must take an approved language test. There are four language tests accepted for immigration to Canada; two for English and two for French:

The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) (or Niveaux de comp├ętence linguistique canadien (NCLC) for French) was created to assess language skills of permanent residence candidates. A candidate's CLB score can be different for each of the four abilities that are evaluated during the test:
  • writing
  • reading
  • listening
  • speaking
The minimum language requirements depend on the immigration program that the applicant has chosen as their pathway to permanent residence in Canada. Oftentimes, the requirements are higher for programs that require a higher-skilled job offer. For example, candidates for Express Entry under the Canadian Experience Class require a minimum of CLB 7 for work experience in NOC 0 or A, and only CLB 5 if the majority of the candidate's qualifying work experience is in NOC B. For the Federal Skilled Trades Program, different CLB levels are required for the four abilites, CLB 5 for speaking and listening but only
CLB 4 for reading and writing. See the following tables for your language level in CLB/NCLC based on your test results:

CLB Level      Reading   Writing   Listening   Speaking
10    10101010
9    9999

CLB Level       Reading   Writing   Listening   Speaking
10 and above   8.0-9.07.5-9.08.5-9.07.5-9.0

NCLC Level   Reading   Writing   Listening   Speaking
10 and above   549-69916-20549-69916-20

NCLC Level   Reading    Writing    Listening    Speaking
10    263-300 393-450 316-360 393-450
9    248-262 371-392 298-315 371-392
8 233-247 349-370 280-297 349-370
7 207-232 310-348 249-279 310-348
6 181-206 271-309 217-248 271-309
5 151-180 226-270 181-216 226-270
4 121-150 181-225 145-180 181-225

IRCC will use the test results as proof of an applicant's language skills. In order to be valid, test results must be less than two years old at the time of application for permanent residence. There are provisions if a candidate can't complete one or more sections of the language test because of a disability.

If you're unsure what your test results mean or which programs you're eligible for, book your initial consultation with us today!

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