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May 27, 2023

IRCC Announces 4 New Language Tests for Students Applying Through the Direct Stream

Starting on August 10, 2023, IRCC will accept the results of four new language tests as additional alternatives for Student Direct Stream (SDS) candidates. These examinations include the TOEFL iBT Test, CAEL, PTE Academic, and CELPIP General.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have announced that candidates for the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program may now submit the results of four additional language tests. This change aims to provide overseas students looking to study in Canada with more alternatives.

Four new language exams were officially will be accepted as of August 10, 2023:

• CELPIP General
• PTE Academic
• TOEFL iBT Test

Every exam's speaking, listening, reading, and writing portions must be shown as proficient.

Each test's specific criteria are as follows:

CELPIP General: an average of at least 7 points across all four language-speaking categories, which is the Canadian Language Benchmark. CAEL: Minimum scores of 60. Pearson PTE Academic: Minimum scores of 60. Educational Testing Service (ETS) TOEFL iBT Test: A minimum score of 83.

It's vital to remember that these exams must be done in person; SDS candidates will not be accepted for online or remotely proctored exams.

Prior to this, IRCC would only accept IELTS General and IELTS Academic for SDS candidates. Students now have greater flexibility and opportunities to satisfy the language competency criteria thanks to the advent of these new language exams.

What is the Student Direct Stream (SDS)?

The Canadian government launched the Student Direct Stream (SDS) initiative in 2018 to expedite the processing of study permits for students from certain nations.

Students must be nationals or legal residents of one of the following nations to be eligible: Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Colombia, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, or Antigua and Barbuda.

The project aims to improve educational possibilities for inhabitants of these countries as well as make it simpler for foreign students to enter Canada. SDS applicants are given an accelerated approach for their studies in Canada with a service standard of 20 days for processing study permit applications.

Eligibility Criteria for SDS Applicants

The following criteria must be fulfilled in order for students from the aforementioned countries to be admitted into the SDS program: • A copy of an admission letter from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) is required.
• Provide proof of the first medical examination.
• Present evidence that you have acquired a $10,000 Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).
• Display proof that you have paid the first year's tuition.
• Provide actual language test results showing an IELTS score of 6 in English or an NCLC 7 in French that were obtained within two years of the SDS application.
• Visit a Visa Application Center (VAC) to submit the application.

Canada's Growing International Student Population

The number of international students in Canada will reach over 800,000 by the end of 2022, making it the biggest country in history, according to the latest data from the IRCC. Due to a mix of local and foreign variables, this number marks a quadrupling of international students since 2008.

International students have been aggressively sought after by the Canadian government and Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) because of their substantial advantages to the nation's economy, society, and culture.

Additionally, the expansion of the middle class globally has aided in the increase of overseas students globally. For students looking for a well-rounded educational experience, Canada has grown to be an increasingly alluring destination due to its recognized educational excellence, reputation for diversity, and prospective employment and immigration options.

In order to better support the goals of international students and increase the program's accessibility and diversity, IRCC is broadening the list of language tests that are accepted from SDS candidates.


Overall, the increase in recognized language exams for SDS candidates is a step in the right direction toward improving the openness, equity, and efficiency of the study permit application procedure. IRCC seeks to enable international students to achieve their educational objectives in Canada by providing additional options and possibilities, eventually fostering their personal development and building a dynamic and inclusive academic community.

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