In Immigration

The Government of Canada, in its goal to support bilingualism, has taken during recent years several measures to promote and prioritize francophone immigration. For instance, candidates in the Express Entry pool, who are proficient in English and have taken an approved French language exam and scored the equivalent of at least 7 in the Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens (“NCLC”) in all four language skills, can obtain 62 more points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”) than someone who does not have French language proficiency. To put this benefit into perspective, having qualified arranged employment in a position considered TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3 would provide only 50 CRS points. By the same token, several provinces have also, in one way or another, encourage francophone immigration by having either a dedicated immigration stream for French speakers or by awarding more points if the applicant is able to prove French proficiency – sometimes as low as NCLC level 4.

In addition to promoting Francophone immigration on a permanent basis, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) implemented several years ago the Francophone Mobility program (“FMP”).
The FMP is part of the International Mobility Program (“IMP”) and allows French speakers to apply for an employer-specific work permit without the employer having to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”). Instead, the Canadian employer simply submits the offer of employment through the Employer Portal and pays the employer compliance fee in the amount of $260.00. The foreign worker will need to provide evidence of payment by the employer of said fee as well including the offer of employment number in the relevant immigration from if applying online or present it to the interviewing officer if applying at the Port of Entry (“POE”). The FMP program has undergone several changes since its inception, and perhaps the most dramatic ones were those introduced on June 15, 2023.

Previously, only candidates who received a job offer to work in a skilled job (i.e. NOCs deemed TEER 0, 1, 2, and 3) were eligible to make use of this LMIA-exempt work permit category. Moreover, candidates had to satisfy an immigration officer that they possessed a French language level of NCLC 7. The latter could, and still can, be satisfied by:

  • providing documents that show formal education in French by submitting a test report from the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF);
  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF) showing a score of NCLC level 7 in all four language skills;
  • or, If applying at a POE, an assessment could be made by the interviewing officer.

From June 15, 2023 onwards, IRCC implemented a pilot project valid for two (2) years that expanded the NOC codes that are eligible for the FMP. On this note, candidates who receive a qualified job offer from a Canadian employer to work outside Québec in a NOC considered TEER 4 and 5 (with the exception of primary agriculture occupations) can make use of the FMP. Additionally, not only was the French proficiency lowered from NCLC level 7 to level 5, but also IRCC stated that such proficiency will be assessed in the speaking and listening skills rather than on all four language skills. This is great news for those who have moderate French language skills and for those of you who don’t… qu’est-ce que vous attendez?!

An Associate of

Crease Harman LLP