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The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has recently approved 4 new English language tests for the Student Direct Stream (SDS). This move aims to provide more options and flexibility to international students applying for study permits under the SDS program. English language proficiency is a crucial requirement for international students, and approving these new tests opens up new avenues for applicants to demonstrate their language skills.

What is the Student Direct Stream (SDS)?

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a streamlined study permit application process designed for eligible international students from select countries. The SDS program aims to reduce the processing time for study permit applications and provide faster outcomes. It is available to students applying to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada and requires meeting specific requirements, including English language proficiency.

Importance of English Language Proficiency

English language proficiency is vital for international students pursuing their studies in an English-speaking country like Canada. It ensures that students can effectively communicate and engage in academic activities, comprehend lectures, participate in discussions, and complete assignments. Additionally, good English language skills enhance the overall educational experience and increase the chances of academic success.

The Approved English Language Tests

The IRCC has recognized the need to expand the range of accepted English language tests for SDS applicants. The four tests that have been approved are:

4.1. Test 1: IELTS Academic

IELTS Academic, offered by the British Council, IDP Education, and Cambridge Assessment English, is one of the most widely recognized English language proficiency tests worldwide. It assesses the test-takers listening, reading, writing, and speaking abilities through a comprehensive examination.

4.2. Test 2: CELPIP-General

CELPIP-General, administered by Paragon Testing Enterprises, is an English language proficiency test specifically designed for Canadian immigration purposes. It evaluates the test-takers’ English language skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking, focusing on everyday communication scenarios.

4.3. Test 3: TOEFL iBT

TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test) is a globally accepted English language test conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It measures the test taker’s academic reading, listening, speaking, and writing abilities.

4.4. Test 4: Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is a computer-based English language proficiency test administered by Pearson Language Tests. It evaluates the test taker’s English language skills in listening, reading, speaking, and writing through a series of integrated tasks.

4.5 Test 5: CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language)

The Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test is a comprehensive English language proficiency exam designed to assess the language skills of individuals planning to study or work in Canada. The CAEL test measures the test-takers’ abilities in four main areas: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. It is widely recognized by Canadian academic institutions and professional organizations as proof of English language proficiency.

Benefits of the New Approved Tests

Approving these four new English language tests brings several benefits to international students applying through the Student Direct Stream:
It offers more choices, allowing international students to select the test that aligns with their strengths and preferences.
It increases accessibility as the tests are available at various locations worldwide.
The expanded range of approved tests accommodates different learning styles and formats, providing applicants with a fair and inclusive assessment.


The approval of four new English language tests by the IRCC for the Student Direct Stream program is a positive development for international students seeking to study in Canada. It expands the options available to applicants, ensuring a fair and comprehensive English language proficiency assessment. By selecting the most suitable test and preparing diligently, students can enhance their chances of obtaining a study permit and pursuing their academic aspirations in Canada.


Q: Can I still use the previously accepted English language tests for the Student Direct Stream program?
A: Yes, the previously accepted tests, such as IELTS General Training and CELPIP-General LS, are still valid for the SDS program.

Q: Should I submit my English language test scores before applying for the Student Direct Stream?
A: To be eligible for the SDS program, you must provide your English language test scores and other required documents at the time of application.

Q: Can I retake an English language test if I am unsatisfied with my scores?
A: Yes, you can retake the test to improve your scores. However, keep in mind that each test attempt may have associated fees.

Q: Are there any exemptions from the English language proficiency requirement for the Student Direct Stream program?
A: No, all applicants must meet the English language proficiency requirement, and there are no exemptions for the SDS program.

Q: Where can I find more information about the approved English language tests for the Student Direct Stream?
A: You can visit the official website of the IRCC or consult with a registered immigration consultant for detailed information about the approved tests and their requirements.

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