Mobilité Francophone aims to make the hiring of French-speaking skilled workers more straightforward for Canadian employers outside the province of Quebec.

Hiring such workers could provide a number of advantages. For instance, being able to serve clients in both official languages could help a business to tap into new markets nationally and internationally.

This stream falls under the International Mobility Program, which allows Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals without the need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment. As a result, the employer is not required to demonstrate efforts to recruit or train Canadian citizens or permanent residents; in addition, the $1,000 LMIA application fee is not required under Mobilité Francophone.

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Unlike the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program — another stream of the International Mobility Program that employers and workers alike may be familiar with — eligibility requirements for the Mobilité Francophone do not include restrictions based on a worker's nationality or age. Citizens of any country and of any age may be eligible to work in Canada under Mobilité Francophone.

Mobilité Francophone: Which workers are eligible?

Under Mobilité Francophone, the following conditions must be met:

  • The applicant will live and work outside the province of Quebec.
  • The applicant uses French as a habitual language on a daily basis.
    • Assessment of an applicant's language ability is at the Visa Officer's discretion.
    • If it is not clear in the initial application that the applicant has the requisite proficiency in French, the Test d'Evaluation Du Français (TEF) may be required. In this case, a result of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or higher is the threshold that must be met by the applicant.

Hiring French-speaking or bilingual workers

Canadian employers interested in recruiting through Mobilité Francophone should take note of the following:

  • The employer must submit an offer of employment before a work permit application is made. Offers of employment made under the International Mobility Program are submitted through the Employer Portal.
  • The job offer made to the foreign worker must be for a skilled position. Canada's National Occupational Classification (NOC) system for classifying different occupations lists skilled work as level 0, A or B.
    • Skill level 0: Management jobs.
    • Skill level A: Professional jobs. Workers typically need a university degree in order to be hired for these jobs.
    • Skill level B: Technical jobs and skilled trades. Workers typically need a college diploma or apprentice training to be hired for these jobs.
  • The offer of employment does not have to require French language ability under the job description. However, the worker must have French language ability (see the section above to learn more).
  • An employer compliance fee of $230 is required for each job offer made through the Employer Portal. Once this has been paid, the job offer number may then be transmitted to the applicant (foreign worker), who submits the work permit application.
  • Visa Officers may issue an LMIA-exempt work permit that is valid for the duration of the offer of employment, or until the expiry of the travel document, whichever is earlier.
  • IRCC aims to maintain quick processing standards. The processing time for the Paris Visa Office, for example, is approximately one month.

Options for hiring

  • Contact the Canadian Visa Office to recruit an applicant who is abroad or already in Canada

    Employers who have a job opening and would like to recruit a foreign worker temporarily or permanently from a francophone country can send a job offer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) visa office in Paris. This letter should include detailed information such as the job title, duties, expected start and end dates, salary and benefits.

    Many countries have public employment services that specialize in international recruitment to help their citizens find work abroad. Staff at the visa office can refer employers to the services that will best meet their needs. These services are offered year-round to all Canadian employers with job offers outside Quebec.

  • Participate in Destination Canada Job Fairs

    Destination Canada is an annual job fair organized by the government of Canada in Paris, Brussels and Tunis. It connects Canadian employers with skilled francophone applicants in a variety of fields, such as hospitality, translation, information technology, multimedia, engineering, education, health care, agriculture, transportation, and more. To participate, employers must have job offers outside Quebec. In addition:

    • All applicants are pre-screened to ensure they are qualified and that they match the employers’ needs and job offers.
    • Staff from the local Canadian Embassies guide applicants through the work permit application process.
    • Employers can post positions even if they are unable to attend the job fair in person.

For more information or to register, visit Destination Canada.

Additional information for French-speaking foreign workers

Applicants for job offers made under the International Mobility Program through Mobilité Francophone should note the following:

  • The work permit application may be made online or by paper application, though IRCC promotes online submissions.
    • If making a paper application, this may be done by mail or in person via a Visa Application Centre (VAC).
  • Individuals already working in Canada under a LMIA exemption for francophones may apply for an extension of the work permit.
    • In effect, this applies only to foreign workers in Canada who were initially issued a work permit under the now-defunct Francophone Significant Benefit Program, and whose work permit remains valid.
  • When making the application and when faced with the question "How long are you planning to stay in Canada?", applicants should answer with one of following, as applicable to the job offer:
    • "Temporarily – less than six months", or
    • "Temporarily – more than six months"
  • The type of work permit that should be applied for is "A work permit with a Labour Market Impact Assessment Exemption."
  • Even if the applicant is currently in Canada, the form that should be completed is for an Application for Work Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM 1295).
    • The country of residence indicated should be the country of usual residence, such as the applicant's home country, rather than Canada. IRCC aims to maintain quick processing standards. The processing time for the Paris Visa Office, for example, is approximately one month.
  • IRCC aims to maintain quick processing standards. The processing time for the Paris Visa Office, for example, is approximately one month.
  • Visa Officers may issue an LMIA-exempt work permit that is valid for the duration of the offer of employment, or until the expiry of the travel document, whichever is earlier.

Accompanying family members

Foreign workers may bring accompanying family members to Canada. If the offer of employment is for six months or longer, the worker's spouse or common-law partner, if applicable, may apply for an open work permit. The holder of an open work permit can work for any Canadian employer, without first having a confirmed offer of employment. An open work permit is not job-specific.

In addition, if the offer of employment is for six months or longer, a study permit application may be made for any accompanying school-age children. No letter of admission is required in order to apply for a study permit in this instance.

Renewals

Renewals of work permits issued through the Mobilité Francophone stream may be submitted by mail to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville or online to the Operations Support Centre. Applicants who hold a valid work permit under the discontinued exemption “Significant benefit – Francophone destined to work outside of Quebec” may apply for a work permit renewal through Mobilité Francophone.

Because a determination will have been made at the time of initial application that the applicant’s habitual language is French, a reassessment of the language will not be required upon renewal.

The initial criteria (outlined above) must still be met, and the applicant must continue to be employed in an applicable NOC 0, A or B occupation outside Quebec.

Employers and prospective foreign workers who are interested in the Mobilité Francophone stream may send an inquiry to wp@canadavisa.com. Please include any relevant information about a job offer you may have and, for workers, information about your French language ability.

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