Effective June 1, 2016, Francophones are now eligible for a new LMIA exempt work permit under IRCC’s Mobilité Francophone program. The work permit is available to French speaking foreign nationals who have been recruited through a Francophone immigration promotional event, who are destined for a province or territory outside of Quebec, and who have been offered a high skilled (NOC “O,” “A,” or “B,”) position. However, until today, very little was known about the actual parameters of the program. The following is a review of the information provided at the Destination Canada – Paris’ Mobilité Francophone Webinar on June 21, 2016.
In order to apply for the program, employers or candidates must first participate in an Francophone immigration promotional event, the employer must then submit an Offer of Employment through the Employer Portal, and then the applicant must submit an outside of Canada work permit application. For more information on the Employer Portal please see our blog post https://www.capellekane.com/new-cic-employer-portal-for-lmia-exempt-work-permits/.
In order to qualify for the program, the candidate must be a French speaker and French must be their habitual language of use. Though a language test is not required to qualify for the program, if a candidate has not provided sufficient and conclusive evidence of their French language abilities, IRCC may refuse the application or require that the candidate take a TEF language test. If the candidate takes a French language test, they must have a minimum CLB 7 in order to qualify for the program.
A central tenant of the program is that applicants must have been “recruited through a Francophone immigration promotional event.” This is currently being broadly interpreted to include advertising or participating in: government job fairs; online programs such as Destination Canada’s – Paris’ Mobilité Francophone Webinar; or emailing Destination Canada with details about the offer and the prospective candidate.
It should be noted that the offer of employment does not have require that the candidate speaks French as a term of employment. It should also be noted that any province or territory outside of Quebec qualifies as a destination under the program. There is no minimum wage requirement under the program. However, wage will be assessed to determine whether it is commensurate with the type of position being offered.
If a candidate is currently working in Canada under the previous French Significant Benefit program that closed in October 2014, they can apply to extend their work permit in Canada on the basis of this new program. All other applicants, regardless of whether they are physically applying from inside or outside Canada, must apply for a new work permit from outside Canada listing their country of residence as their country of usual residence (not Canada). The duration of Mobilité Francophone work permits are tied to the duration of employment as specified in the Offer of Employment or limited by the expiry date of an applicant’s passport.
Spouses and children of Mobilité Francophone work permit holders are eligible for open work permits or study permits as the accompanying dependents of skilled workers.
Candidates should be aware that under the current Express Entry comprehensive ranking system, no additional points will be awarded for a Mobilité Francophone job offer without the employer first undertaking a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”). However, as the candidate will already have authorization to work in Canada, employers are eligible to apply for a Permanent LMIA (fee exempt) in order to support their application for permanent residence.
Alternately, candidates who meet the eligibility requirements of either the Federal Skilled Worker Stream or the Canadian Experience Class; who score a minimum CLB 7 in French and 6 in English; have the equivalent of a Canadian Bachelor’s degree or above; and have an intention to reside in Ontario, may be selected under the Ontario Provincial Nominee Programs’ French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream. A provincial nomination under this stream will also provide an applicant with 600 points towards Express Entry. More information about the Ontario Provincial Nominee Programs’ French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream can be found in our blog here: https://www.capellekane.com/ontarios-provincial-nominee-program-under-express-entry-french-speaking-skilled-worker-stream/
The Mobilité Francophone program provides a much needed LMIA exemption to permit French speakers to obtain a work permit without forcing employers to go through the costly, lengthy and often uncertain LMIA process. The program will allow employers significantly faster and easier access to francophone foreign national employees. Capelle Kane is in the process of assisting employers in accessing this valuable new program.