New Canadian language testing requirements “abusive” for Canadian Permanent Residence

New Canadian language testing requirements

The Canadian Bar Association said last week that the changes made to processing permanent residence applications in Canada are “underhanded and abusive” and even circumvent  the law.

Previously under Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, applicants had a choice between taking International English Testing System (IELTS) or Test d’evaluation de Francais when applying under the Canada Experience Class or the Federal Skilled Worker programs. Applicants also, by law, had the option to provide documentation that demonstrates language proficiency instead of scheduling, paying for, and waiting to take a test.

At the end of June, only applicants that have completed a standard language proficiency test will have their applications processed because Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said so, despite the law.

So those who don’t have testing results will not be processed, even if they are from a native French or English-speaking country and could prove their language capabilities without a test. Some immigrants from countries that speak English, such as the United States and United Kingdom, would understandably prefer to include copies of their degrees or employer recommendations as opposed to taking a test that costs a $325 fee, but that option is no longer available.

One woman, Dorit Robbins, a Harvard-educated lawyer from the United States, said in a sworn affidavit entered into court, “As an American-born citizen who has a sufficient amount of education, all of which has been completed in the English language, I am appalled with the fact that I have to take time away from my children to sit and pay for an English exam in order to have my immigration application processed.”

The law has essentially been circumvented, whereas normally a change such as this would have to be published in the Canada Gazette (which is a sort of newsletter about government goings on for the public) and which would allow for adequate public review.

Do you need more information on the new Canadian language testing requirements, or help preparing for a language test? Contact Niren and Associates immigration law firm today.

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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