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IRCC has approved new language test for Canadian immigration

August 5, 2022

By CIC News

IRCC has recently approved the designation-in-principle of a new language test for economic class immigration applicants.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) anticipates the test will be implemented by early to mid-2023.

The name of the new language test was redacted in a May 10 briefing note obtained by CIC News through an access to information request. There are currently only four designated organizations; IELTS and CELPIP for English, then TEF and TCF for French.

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IRCC says despite some initial challenges during the pandemic, the number of designated testing organizations continues to meet the demand of immigration and citizenship applicants. However, an increasing number of language test provider organizations seeking designation is cause for IRCC to seek improvements.

Currently, the process for an organization to get designated is long, complex, and “insufficiently transparent.”

The memo says IRCC will seek potential initiatives and improvements within the next 12 months. If implemented, these changes are expected to lead to even more organizations becoming interested in designation. Currently, there is no limit on the potential number of language testing providers and contractual agreements that IRCC can enter into.

The departmental roles and responsibilities related to language tests are currently not well defined and have overlapping policy and operational implications. The language designation team at IRCC, part of the Immigration Branch, has to balance file management work with advancing the new policy priorities.

Some details of the policy priorities were redacted. However, we know IRCC’s immediate priority is to complete and sign the service agreement with the unnamed company so that an official designation is issued and the implementation process can commence. The mid-term priorities include undertaking policy analysis of emerging issues. Then the long-term priorities focus on the broader review of the language designation framework, including the core technical designation criteria and the emerging evidence outcomes related to language proficiency benchmark levels.

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