Work Permit for Francophones – No LMIA is Necessary – Francophone mobility
Canada has two official languages: French and English. According to Statistics Canada, about 65% of Canadians in English, about 21% are French, and the rest speak unofficial languages. Of course, many people know both official languages of Canada.
Paragraph 3(1)(b.1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) defines supporting and assisting “the development of minority official languages communities in Canada” as one of the objectives of the IRPA. About 89% of French-speaking people (also known as Francophones) live in Quebec [source]. The rest of Canada is mainly English-speaking (also known as Anglophones). The Francophone population is a minority in other provinces. In fact, the total population of French-speaking people is hardly over 1,000,000 outside Quebec. If you compare this statistic with the mandate of IRPA, you realize Canada’s government wishes to invite Francophones to other provinces of Canada.
Who is a Francophone?
The governing body of immigration is Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Under the IRCC guidelines, a Francophone is someone whose habitual language of daily use is French. The obvious choices are many people from the following countries.
|Burkina Faso||French Guiana||Niger|
|The central African Republic||Guinea||Senegal|
|Congo, Republic of the||Madagascar||Togo|
|The Democratic Republic of the Congo||Martinique|
The preceding countries’ official language is French, and many people fall under the definition of Francophone (assuming they use French as their primary language in daily life). If a person is from other countries, they need to use French daily (e.g., a French-language teacher or someone who works for France or Belgium in their home country). An immigration officer has the right to ask for proof of knowledge of the French language (e.g. through the Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF) score).
Work Permit for Francophones
French-speaking people could receive a work permit to Canada under the Mobilité francophone (or Francophone mobility) program. This program is exempt from an LMIA. To qualify for this program, you need to…
- Be a Francophone, as described earlier.
- Your destination is a province in Canada other than Quebec.
- You have a job offer from a Canadian employer under NOC 0, A or B
- Your knowledge of the French language in Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) is of level 7 or higher (NCLC is the Canadian Language Benchmark for French)
As mentioned earlier, the officer may or may not ask you for proof of French knowledge, but if they do, they will most likely ask for the TEF exam score. Your TEF Canada score needs to be equivalent to or higher than 207 in Reading, 310 in Writing, 249 in Listening, and 310 in Speaking [source].
Steps to be Taken
To apply under this program, you and your employer need to take the following steps.
- An employer needs to offer you a full-time job outside Quebec in a NOC 0, A, or B position.
- If you accept the offer, the employer needs to create an Employer-Account with the IRCC and post the job. They also need to pay the compliance fee of $230
- Upon posting the job offer, you will receive a special file number that starts with the letter A. You need to apply for a Work Permit with the help of that job offer.
If you are from a visa-exempt country such as France or Belgium, you may travel to Canada with the help of an eTA and then apply for the work permit at a port of entry (e.g. at a Canadian airport). If you need a visa to enter Canada, you have to apply online or via a Visa Application Centre. If you are not a US citizen, you also need to give biometrics. If you are married, your spouse may also qualify for an open work permit, which allows them to work for any employers in Canada. Your minor children may also study in Canada without a study permit. All of these are subject to approval by the immigration authorities.
Francophone mobility could open doors to immigration to Canada under the Express Entry system. For example, if you work for your employer for at least one year, you collect extra points, making it easier for you to apply. Your chances of success depend on many factors such as your age, your knowledge of French or English, your work experience, your ties to Canada, your admissibility to Canada and more.
If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.
Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
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