ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 166 – March 10, 2010

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Administrative change in assessment of written evidence as proof of language proficiency

This Operational Bulletin has expired.


This operational bulletin is to inform visa officers of an administrative change being made to streamline the language assessment process for Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicants. Visa Officers will now only be required to consider the evidence of language proficiency provided at the time of application.


The option of providing a written submission as proof of language proficiency was intended only for applicants whose language proficiency was not in question, such as applicants whose first language is English or French. However, many applicants whose first language is neither English nor French choose to provide other written evidence of their language proficiency. Often, such applicants do not adequately demonstrate their proficiency through the written proof they provide.

RIM 016 of February 9, 2004, instructed visa officers to offer these applicants the opportunity to submit the results of a designated language test within a certain time period, if their written submissions did not substantiate the proficiency levels claimed. Section 10.10 of OP 6 [PDF, 280 Kb] was amended on October 28, 2004, to include this instruction.

One of the objectives of the Action Plan for Faster Immigration is to process FSW cases within 12 months. To achieve this, it is necessary to streamline language assessment and eliminate the time spent communicating with applicants on the issue of language proficiency.

Administrative change

For applications received either at a visa office (for CEC) or the Centralized Intake Office (for FSW) on or after April 10, 2010, visa officers will only be required to consider the evidence of language proficiency provided at the time of application. If the applicant chooses to provide other written evidence of language proficiency, the proof submitted must clearly demonstrate that they meet the language proficiency claimed for FSW or required for CEC. If the evidence provided is not sufficient, FSW applicants will only be awarded the number of points demonstrated by the material submitted, and CEC applicants may have their applications refused if the minimum requirement has not been demonstrated.

The instruction in section 10.10 of OP 6 [PDF, 280 Kb] to the effect that visa officers will offer applicants a second chance to submit conclusive evidence of language proficiency, i.e. an assessment by a designated organization or institution, will not apply to applications received on or after April 10, 2010. OP 25 [PDF, 255 Kb] will also be amended to reflect this administrative change.

Advance notice is being communicated now to applicants through the CIC website and the applicant guides, in order to ensure effective implementation of this change. Letters to this effect are also being sent to immigration representative organizations. The period of time between this notification and April 10, 2010, is sufficient for applicants to take notice of this change. As a result, after that date, applicants will no longer have any expectation of a second opportunity to provide conclusive evidence and visa officers can process applications more quickly.

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