With an active population of almost 20 million people, Canada is a dynamic labor market proud of its two official languages: English and French. However, nearly 90% of francophones in Canada are based in the province of Quebec. In other areas, most of the population speaks English, and French is in reality rarely used in daily life. In fact, the proportion of people outside of Quebec using French as their first language has almost been cut by half over the last 50 years! This decline is even more visible in workplaces, with 9 out of 10 workers reporting using only English according to the last statistics published by the government.
To counteract this phenomenon and maintain French usage in all of its territory, Canada made it one of its priorities to encourage the immigration of francophones to provinces other than Quebec. For that reason, the government introduced in 2016 a new immigration program called “Mobilité Francophone”.
What is the “Mobilité Francophone” Program?
If you have ever looked into hiring a foreign worker, you are probably aware of how long, costly, and tedious the process is. You are in most cases required to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This step assesses if hiring a foreign worker would negatively impact the Canadian labor market. It is time-consuming since you have to publish your open position for a minimum of 4 weeks and provide supporting documentation regarding the absence of qualified candidates among Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. The approval process for an LMIA takes from one to two months, and the employer is required to pay a $1,000 application fee. The complexity and cost of this process is generally the main reason why employers are reluctant to give a chance to foreign candidates.
The good news is that with “Mobilité Francophone”, you are exempt from having to apply for a LMIA. Certain conditions apply in order to be eligible for that program.
What are the Eligibility Requirements?
- The employer must present a job offer for NOC 0, A, or B. You can find the NOC of your open position at Find your NOC - Canada.ca.
- NOC 0: Management jobs (e.g., restaurant manager, project manager)
- NOC A: Professional jobs requiring a university degree (e.g., teacher, biologist)
- NOC B: Technical jobs (e.g., electrician, plumber, chef)
- The job offer must be for a location outside Quebec.
- The candidate must be qualified for the position.
- The candidate must demonstrate proficiency in French. However, the language used at work does not necessarily have to be French.
Based on the documents provided, the immigration agent must be satisfied that the habitual language of daily use is French. If not, the candidate will be required to go through an interview or provide results from an accredited language test demonstrating a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of level 7 or higher in French. Candidates can apply even if they come from a country where French is not normally spoken, as long as they can prove their language proficiency. For example, Morocco might not recognize French as an official language, but many people do speak it on a daily basis. It also applies to people with no francophone background but having reached a near-native level through education.
The Application Process
If both your job offer and the candidate you wish to hire meet the eligibility requirements, you will have to follow these 3 steps:
- Submit your eligible offer of employment online in the IRCC Employer Portal by following this step-by-step guide. When asked about the exemption title that applies to your position, select the LMIA Exemption Code C16.
- Pay the Employer Compliance Fee of $230.
- Transmit the offer of employment number (7-digit number, starting with the letter “A”) and signed contract to your candidate and ask them to apply for their work permit. The application fee for the candidate is $155. If they need a visa or an eTA, it will automatically be issued once the work permit is approved.
If your candidate’s work permit application ends up being refused, you will get an automatic refund of the Employer Compliance Fee within 8 weeks.
Hiring through the Mobilité Francophone stream presents many advantages for employers. Work permits issued are employer-specific, which means that the candidate cannot engage in employment with a company other than yours. They are usually valid for the whole duration of the contract and easily renewable.
The Processing Time
Processing starts once the work permit application is complete, meaning that all the documents requested by immigration have been submitted. Your candidate will likely have to schedule an appointment in a Visa Application Center to give his biometrics if he has never done it in the past. For certain positions involving close contact with people, such as healthcare or childcare, an immigration medical examination will also be required. All these steps can extend the process of getting the work permit, so it is essential to plan sufficient time before the expected position start date.
If your job offer corresponds to a NOC 0 or A and you followed all the required steps, your candidate should have his work permit application processed in two weeks. For NOC B positions, it can go up to 6 weeks. However, processing times sometimes depend on the country from which the work permit application is submitted. You can use the interactive tool available on the IRCC website for personalized and up-to-date processing time estimations.
How to Hire Overseas?
An international workforce is more than ever an asset in the increasingly global market. This program makes the immigration process so straightforward that the biggest challenge remains attracting qualified bilingual candidates. Take advantage of the virtual hiring trend made popular by the pandemic and check out our article on how to organize your own hiring event. This is the perfect opportunity to promote your company to foreign candidates, raise awareness about Mobilité Francophone, and ultimately meet your future collaborators!
No idea how to find a suitable candidate for your needs? Canada Talents is specialized in the bilingual job market and offers recruitment services specially tailored to your situation. Do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will make it our priority to understand your project and match you with the best bilingual talents available.