French language skills
In order to enter the Express Entry pool, eligible candidates must first prove proficiency in English or French by taking a standardized language test recognized by IRCC. Of the 1,200 points available in total under the CRS, 136 points may be awarded for a candidate’s first language, with a further 24 available for ability in a second language.
This will remain the case as of June 6. However, IRCC is changing the CRS to award additional points to candidates with French language skills, with more additional points to be awarded to French speakers who also prove their English skills.
Candidates must take the Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF)in order to receive points.
Currently, there are other ways in which candidates may benefit from their French ability. For example, the province of Ontario operates an Express Entry program for French speaking candidates who have a CLB of 7 in French and a CLB of 6 in English.
Siblings in Canada
On June 6, 2017, the Express Entry system will award 15 points to candidates with siblings in Canada.
To get these points, candidates will need to show that the sibling is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is living in Canada and is 18 years of age or older.
The sibling in Canada must share a mother or father with the principal Express Entry applicant or their spouse or common-law partner. This relationship can be through blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption.
Having a sibling in Canada has been shown to improve health and social outcomes by accelerating a newcomer’s integration into their new life in Canada.