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Express Entry to Canada: Learn About the IELTS

Thursday | April 18, 2019 | by Tony Rusinak

A fake Canada immigration application form kept with pencil

Please enjoy this guest blog post from WES Expert Ambassador Tony Rusinak, a Canadian immigration consultant and specialist on the IELTS.

In this article, you will find information on the following topics:

  • What Is Express Entry?
  • How Do You Apply for Express Entry to Canada?
  • What Is the IELTS?
  • What Score Do You Need on the IELTS for Express Entry?
  • Expert Advice: How to Get the Most Express Entry Points
  • How to Improve Your Score on the IELTS Exam
  • Good Luck on Your Express Entry and the IELTS

As a Canadian immigration consultant, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about our country’s latest effort to break down barriers by introducing a faster and easier way to immigrate to Canada.

You might have heard about it, too: It’s called Express Entry.

What Is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an improved management system that helps Canada connect with and expedite the application process for skilled immigrants. Candidates who wish to immigrate to Canada can begin by submitting a basic application for Express Entry. Then, using a points system, the Canadian government will select those who are at the top of the list. The points criteria are based on things like education, work experience, and language ability. The more points you have, the better your chances are of being invited to apply for permanent residence.

How Do You Apply for Express Entry to Canada?

The Express Entry system is a fairly straightforward process. The first thing you need to do is make sure you meet the requirements.

To see if you fit the criteria, you can fill out an eligibility survey provided by the Canadian government. You will answer a series of questions about your personal background, education, and work experience. After you are finished, the website will let you know if you are qualified to apply for Express Entry. You will also learn what your next steps should be.

If you are told that you meet the requirements to apply for Express Entry, you will submit a basic application to the “Express Entry pool.” Although this phrase might be confusing, in this case the “pool” refers to a remote digital storage space where your basic application would be sent for consideration, along with all of the other applications from international candidates who want to immigrate to Canada.

When filling out your eligibility survey, it is important that you answer honestly. If your information is not correct, it might impact your permanent residence application.  This could cause the immigration department to flag your profile. This might delay your results or decrease your chances of success.

Along with giving truthful information about things like work experience, family members, education, and employment skills, you will have to provide a language score. The best way to demonstrate your English-language skills is through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

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What Is the IELTS?

English-language proficiency will impact your eligibility for Express Entry. It’s mandatory to have your “language scores” ready before you apply. The IELTS (or International English Language Testing System) is commonly used by prospective Canadian immigrants to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Across Canada, and worldwide, there are more IELTS testing centers than for any other kind of English-language exam; so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one. These will provide you with the scores you need for Express Entry to Canada.

What Score Do You Need on the IELTS for Express Entry?

On the Express Entry application, you will need to fill in both “language minimums” and “language points.” The language minimums that you need can vary from person to person, because they are only one factor in your overall qualification consideration. However, the higher your score, the more Express Entry points you will receive.

The scores are broken down into the four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. You are also given an overall score for your proficiency in English.

Anyone who plans to immigrate to Canada should have at least an average ability in all of the above English-language skills.

The General English IELTS exam should be completed no more than two years ahead of your application date. If more than two years have passed since you last took the exam, you will need to take it again so that your scores will definitely qualify.

In a worst-case scenario, if you use outdated or falsified scores, your Express Entry application could be flagged, delayed, or denied.

Expert Advice: How to Get the Most Express Entry Points

As a Canadian immigration consultant, I am often asked how to improve, how to maximize, or how to get the most Express Entry points.

One of the best ways to boost your points is to secure an official job offer from a company in Canada. Strong consideration is also given to those who have studied at a Canadian school. You can also improve your outlook by building skills and experience for in-demand Canadian jobs.

Another surefire way to get more points toward Express Entry is to get a high score on the IELTS exam.

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How to Improve Your Score on the IELTS Exam

One of my specialties is teaching international students about the IELTS, so I can tell you with certainty that there are many ways to work hard and improve your scores on the IELTS exam.

There are websites, workbooks, videos, and online quizzes. But the only resource that you can fully trust to be updated and accurate is the official IELTS website. It does an excellent job helping test-takers achieve their best score.

On the website, you’ll find free practice tests, scoring guides, blogs, Examiner Tips, and other great resources. If you are looking for more personalized feedback, you might choose to pay for extra services like the IELTS Writing Assist program or the IELTS Progress Check.

(One thing to remember is that you will need the General IELTS, not the Academic IELTS, so be sure to choose the correct option while you browse for preparation and testing materials!)

Make sure you sign up for your IELTS exam first, and give yourself enough time to use all of these resources. Then, once you have a target date in mind for your exam, you can start taking advantage of these great preparation materials.

Plus, after you register for your test, you will unlock access to a free online course. You will also gain access to a free Masterclass session with an IELTS Preparation Instructor.

The more time you give yourself, and the more you practice, the more likely you are to improve your IELTS score and therefore get the most Express Entry points.

Good Luck on Your Express Entry and IELTS Exam

The journey to become a permanent resident in Canada can take a long time. But with the right plan and some hard work, it is something you can do.

I wish you the best of luck in your immigration process, on your English test. We look forward to seeing you in Canada!

Related Reading

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National Occupational Classification: Your First Step Toward Express Entry

Tony Rusinak, DELTA, RCIC, MA Ed Tech (Candidate), is an instructor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.