How to Use TOEFL for Canada Immigration Processing


Is using TOEFL for Canada immigration the best option? Sometime in the past, TOEFL was the most sought after English test in the world. Virtually all universities of English origin were opting for it as their standardized test.

On the other hand, the IRCC was not convinced about TOEFL and so, put up some resistance to it, citing certain reasons though.

Without doubt, Canada has become a highly rated destination for immigrants who wish to migrate for either educational purposes or for employment opportunities, or in some cases, both. As a result, there has been a rise in the number of immigrants from various countries.

According to a recent data, Canada will soon welcome over 350 000 immigrants from all over the world. As a result, a large number of them will settle in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and other top provinces.

But will they need TOEFL for their immigration or there is a better option for them? Find out in this article as it explores the test and compares it with IELTS and Canada Language Benchmark. Of course, TOEFL is not totally useless.

What is TOEFL?

Popularly known as TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language is one of the standardized English language tests for foreign education or work.

Besides, it is used to measure your ability to speak, write, read or listen to English Language like the Native Speakers. Over 11 000 universities and other institutions all over the world accepts TOEFL as one of their entry requirements.

What are the Language Requirements for Canadian Immigration?

Almost all categories of occupation in Canada require the result of a language test to qualify for application. However, the type of test you need to take and the required score for eligibility depends on the type of program you are applying under.

Applying for Canadian immigration, you will need to present proof of language eligibility and the test must be from an approved organization. In this case, two test providers are authorized to provide the English test for Canada immigration. They are:

  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

Additionally, if you would prefer to take the French test, the standardized tests are the Test d’evaluation de français (TEF) and Test de connaissance du français.

Interestingly, Canada is a bilingual country but you do not need to be bilingual to live, study or work here. Either English language or French will suffice since they are the two official la gauges of Canada.

Furthermore, among the four tests results, the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not have a preferred test score. And so, all you need is to present one of them as long as you meet the cut-off point. Sadly IRCC does not accept TOEFL for Canada immigration.

Don’t forget that the test must be taken within the last two years. Once it exceeds two years, you will need to retake it or present an alternative that is within the timeframe.

Divisions of the tests

All three tests assign scores in four different areas of English or French language and they are:

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Reading.

TOEFL for Canadian Immigration

Canada has three major programs for immigrants who wish to move into the country for study purposes or employment opportunities. They are:

  • Federal Skilled Worker
  • Federal Skilled Trades
  • Canada Experience Class.

Aside from the four test scores mentioned above (IELTS, CELPIP, TCF and TEF), Canada does not accept any other test score. For the record, no matter how high your TOEFL score is, it will not be considered for immigration requirements in Canada.

Nevertheless, if you are a student who wishes to apply for study visa, you may need to present TOEFL as proof of language test.

TOEFL and IELTS, any Difference?

If you are a national of Non-Native English Speakers, you must write a language proficiency test for your immigration or studies. Moreover, TOEFL and IELTS have been reported to be the two most prominent language tests the world over. While IELTS is British-based test, TOEFL is American-based. Yet, both of them accept both American and British English spellings. Here is the difference between both of them:


Basically, IELTS (The International English Language Testing System) is focused on testing your ability to read, write, speak and listen to English. It can be of two tracks:

  • Academic: if you are studying at the college or university level in an English-speaking country, or pursuing a professional career in certain academic fields like engineering and healthcare, you can opt for IELTS Academics. In essence, this is the best track for you if you are coming to Canada for post-secondary education. It focuses more on graphs, diagrams and illustrations, although it emphasizes on communication skills too.
  • General: if you are migrating to work in an English-speaking country or you are a student at the high school level, this is the best option for you.

On your testing day, you should note that listening, reading, and writing take place on the same day and there is no breaks until you are through. In contrast, the speaking aspect can take place up to a week before or after the other ones. Also, it includes a recorded 11 – 14 minutes interview with an examiner where you will submit the answers, just like the usual interviews. Additionally, the other tests take place under three hours.

To be precise, IELTS makes use of a band system, ranging from 1 to 9 and distinct scores for each of the four sections which are averaged to give you a total score. And so, your general score will be rounded to the nearest half-band.


TOEFL is of two types and they are:

  • TOEFL Paper-based


The TOEFL iBT stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test. In addition, it also involves testing your ability in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English. Also, Its focus is on valid communication in a classroom setting.

Technically, TOEFL has four sections which are totally computer-based. Reading and listening come before speaking and writing. Further, the whole test will take about four hours, with the odd short break throughout.

Basically, TOEFL iBT uses a single score, from 0 to 120 points. Further to that, each of the four sections has 30 points. After adding each of the scores, it will be totaled under 120 points. Whatever you get is your overall score.

TOEFL Paper-based

This is a version of the TOEFL examination that is written on paper and has a different scoring mechanism. However, the majority of the candidates focus on the iBT (over 90% of them).

Difference between TOEFL and IELTS

Even though both examinations have some similarities, there are also some peculiarities in their structures. TOEFL is internet-based and so, you are not going to interact with actual human beings throughout your examination.

It has almost multiple choice questions. You will use just your key-board to answer the questions and its essay is around 300-word count.

The listening section of TOEFL involves you to listen to and take notes from clips form a university class or on-campus discussions. With that, you will answer the questions that follow.

IELTS has various options, ranging from short answers, small essays to gap-filling questions. The speaking aspect is done face-to-face with the interviewer.

In some cases, this can be nerve-wrecking. But with confidence, you can overcome it.

Besides, it is hand-written and has a shorter essay of 250-word count. IELTS involves listening to recordings and answering the questions as you go.

Making Your Choice

With the differences explained above, it will not be difficult for you to make your choice. However, the first step to making your choice is to find out which of the tests is mostly acceptable in the institution or program you are going for.

Aside from that, making your choices solely depends on whether you would prefer a computer-based test where your questions are pre-recorded or you would opt for a discussion with actual humans. That is, in addition with other options.

In terms of cost too, TOEFL is around $200 to $350, while IELTS is between $260 and $390, all in Canadian dollars.

Another important factor, both tests are common in Canada if the institutions you are opting for accept them.

Also, each institution sets their minimum requirement for the test score. However, if you are applying as an immigrant, TOEFL is not a choice for you.

How to Study in Canada from Maldives

English Language Requirements for Canadian Immigration

The table below shows the minimum requirements for each of the programs under the Canadian immigration.

Open Table to see Minimum Band Score

Programs Minimum Requirements
Federal Skilled Worker Program CLB 7; NCLC 7
Canadian Experience Class CLB 7; NCLC 7
Federal Skilled Trades Program CLB 5for English speaking and listening; CLB 4 for English reading and writing
Federal Skilled Trades Program NCLC 5 for French speaking and listening; NCLC 4 for French reading and writing

What are Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)?

The CLB describes 12 levels of ability in each of four different language skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. It is used in Canada to determine the language skills of candidates who are learning English. The benchmarks determine how well you can function in the language skill.

The table below show the results of language tests (IELTS and (CELPIP) from designated organizations which have been summarized for you.

Open table to view results of language tests

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – General Test score equivalency chart
CLB Level Reading Writing Listening Speaking
10 10 10 10 10
9 9 9 9 9
8 8 8 8 8
7 7 7 7 7
6 6 6 6 6
5 5 5 5 5
4 4 4 4 4
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – General Training – Test score equivalency chart
CLB Level Reading Writing Listening Speaking
10 8.0 7.5 8.5 7.5
9 7.0 7.0 8.0 7.0
8 6.5 6.5 7.5 6.5
7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
6 5.0 5.5 5.5 5.5
5 4.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
4 3.5 4.0 4.5 4.0

Frequently Asked Questions

Is TOEFL hard to pass?

Compared to other standardized tests, TOEFL is one of the easiest tests you can take. It is particularly very easy for people with strong English language skills.

Who is eligible for TOEFL exams?

For you to take the TOEFL, you must have from any recognized board or university.

What is the age limit for TOEFL?

Truthfully, anyone can take the test. Equally, it does not have any restrictions for years. However, it is valid for two years, meaning that most of the foreign universities accept scores for up to two years.


TOEFL is a standardized test in Canada but is not acceptable by the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for those who wish to immigrate to Canada. As such, you may go for the acceptable English testing, which are IELTS and CELPIP.



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