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Students Direct Stream: IRCC Approves 4 New English Language Tests

Austin Campbell



new English language tests

International students in Canada now have four new choices in English language tests under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program. Recently, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has approved these four tests – TOEFL, PTE Academic, CAEL, and CELPIP General.

An Overview of the Student Direct Stream

The Student Direct Stream Program is launched by the Canadian government to make it easier for international students to apply for study permits from different countries. The students can apply from the following countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, China, and India. To apply, international students are expected to prove their language skills in either English or French.

Prior to the latest announcement by IRCC, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) was the only approved test for English language assessment.

The Four New English Language Tests

For students, the IRCC’s latest decision to approve four new English language assessments is a game-changing decision. With such development, students will gain an edge of freedom and convenience to demonstrate their language proficiency with the newly approved languages.

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Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The well-known English language competence test ‘TOEFL’ is now an accepted alternative for applicants to the SDS program. Managed by Educational Testing Service (ETS), TOEFL assesses the four key language skills – reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The test requires at least a score of 83. The approval of TOEFL for SDS offers international students an additional avenue to demonstrate their English proficiency and fulfill the program’s requirements.


Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

Another esteemed test that has gained recognition as an alternative to IELTS is the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic). Developed by Pearson Education Ltd., this computer-based exam evaluates a student’s English language skills through various tasks and question formats. Students can now choose this test to demonstrate their language abilities by getting a minimum score of 60.

Cambridge Assessment English: C1 Advanced (CAE)

The prestigious Cambridge Assessment English: C1 Advanced (CAE) test has also received approval for the SDS program. Administered by Cambridge Assessment English, this examination assesses advanced-level English proficiency, reflecting a high standard of language competence. The test requires at least a score of 60. 

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Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – General

The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – General test is the fourth newly approved English language test for the SDS program. Developed by Paragon Testing Enterprises, CELPIP-General evaluates the English language skills of test takers through various real-life scenarios, including communication, work-related tasks, and academic contexts. The test provides students with another reliable option to demonstrate their language proficiency in Canada. There must be at least a 7 CLB on the CELPIP general tests in each of the four languages abilities.

Eligibility For the SDS

Students need to meet the following eligibility criteria under the Student Direct Stream program:

  • A letter of acceptance from DLI – Designated Learning Institution of Canada;
  • Approved medical exam document of the applicant;
  • A Guaranteed Investment Certificate of $10,000;
  • Paid Tuition fees for the first year of study;
  • proof of language test results completed within two years of the SDS application being received with an IELTS score of 6 in English or NCLC 7 for French;
  • Submission of the application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
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