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Heightened proficiency in English and French among recent immigrants indicates greater potential for success in Canada

February 6, 2023

By CIC News |

According to the 2021 Canadian census, which was released in Q4 2022, more than 9 in 10 people who immigrated to Canada between 2016 and 2021 reported being able to conduct a conversation in English or French.

Although most recent immigrants (69.4%) reported non-official languages as their mother tongue, 92.7% of people in this group self-reported being able to conversate in one of Canada’s two official languages.

Additionally, census data reveals that 62.3% of recent immigrants with non-official languages as their mother tongue said that they speak either English or French at home, either alone or with another language.

Why is official language proficiency so important?

Official language proficiency has historically been a signal that newcomers to Canada are more likely to find success in this country.

Evidence of this can be found in the emphasis placed on official language proficiency by the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) when scoring Express Entry candidates. As one of the primary methods of immigration to this country, Canada prioritizes the ability of Express Entry hopefuls to speak, conversate, read and write in English and/or French. In fact, CRS scoring provides a maximum of 320 (with spouse/partner) or 310 (without spouse/partner) points to Express Entry applicants for first official language proficiency. This means that the ability to speak one of Canada’s official languages can significantly impact one’s CRS score.

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