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IRCC introduces New Approved English Language Tests For Student Direct Stream (SDS) Applicants




(CTN NEWS) – Starting from August 10, 2023, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has integrated four recently sanctioned English language examinations for applicants applying through the Student Direct Stream (SDS).

The updated roster of accepted language tests comprises:

  1. Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General
  2. Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL)
  3. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  4. Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT)

Language Test Options and Updated IELTS Requirements for the Student Direct Stream (SDS)

In addition to these examinations, students also have the option to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training or Academic tests.

It’s important to take note of the forthcoming adjustments to the IELTS requirements for the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which will take effect on August 10th:

  1. If you’re submitting your application from August 10, 2023, an overall band score of 6.0 is necessary for IELTS Academic.
  2. For applications submitted with IELTS Academic prior to August 10, 2023, a score of 6.0 in each skill section (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) is required.
  3. If you’re applying with IELTS General Training, regardless of whether it’s before or after August 10, 2023, you’ll still need to achieve a score of 6.0 in each skill section.

To qualify for the SDS, all test results must demonstrate a comprehensive command of an official language of Canada (English or French), encompassing proficiencies in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Specifically, for students opting for English assessments, the minimum required total scores are as follows:

  • 7 for CELPIP General tests
  • 60 for CAEL tests
  • 60 for Pearson Academic tests
  • 83 on TOEFL iBT tests

Key Aspects of the Student Direct Stream (SDS) for Expedited Study Permit Processing

Crucially, these assessments must be completed in-person, as online or remotely proctored tests are not deemed eligible for consideration by SDS applicants.

What is the Student Direct Stream?

The SDS is a program designed to expedite the processing of study permits for international students hailing from specific countries.

The program aims to uphold a processing standard of 20 calendar days for qualifying study permit applications.

The roster of eligible countries encompasses Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam.

To satisfy SDS applicant eligibility, students must:

  1. Hold legal residency in the specified countries.
  2. Furnish a copy of an acceptance letter from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
  3. Provide confirmation of a pre-entry medical examination.
  4. Possess, or demonstrate acquisition of, a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) worth $10,000.
  5. Verify payment of tuition fees for the first year of study.
  6. Validate language test results acquired within two years of application receipt, reflecting qualifying test scores for the SDS.
  7. Lodge their application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

Important Considerations for Study Permit Approval and Canada’s Success in Attracting International Students

It’s important to note that even if all these eligibility criteria are met, an IRCC officer may still reject the application based on their assessment that it lacks sufficient evidence of the international student’s ability to fulfill their obligations during their stay in Canada.

For more guidance on enhancing your chances of study permit approval, you can find additional information here.

As a testament to the success of these endeavors, Canada welcomed over 800,000 international students by the close of 2022, marking the highest number in the country’s history.

This figure represents an almost tenfold increase since 2008, attributed to a combination of internal and external factors. Domestically, Canadian authorities and DLIs have proactively engaged in attracting international students for their contributions to the economy, societal diversity, and cultural enrichment.

On a global scale, the growth of middle-class populations has spurred a surge in the international student demographic.

Canada’s appeal as an educational hub stems from its quality education, multicultural reputation, and promising career and immigration prospects post-study—qualities that set the country apart even within competitive international student markets like the United States.


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