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The government of Canada has announced that it will soon be simpler for employers in some regions of Canada to hire French-speaking skilled workers through a new option known as Mobilité Francophone.
In an expansion of the International Mobility Program (IMP), Mobilité Francophone will exempt Canadian employers from the Labour Market Impact Assessment process when they hire francophone foreign workers in managerial, professional and technical/skilled trades occupations (NOC skill level 0, A or B) to work in francophone minority communities outside Quebec. This new option is scheduled to come into operation on June 1, 2016.
A LMIA is a document that serves as proof that there will be a positive or neutral impact to the Canadian labour market if an employer hires a foreign national in certain situations. The IMP is an umbrella program that includes all streams of work permit applications that are exempt from this requirement. Mobilité Francophone is the latest such stream, joining other IMP streams such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the International Experience Canada (IEC) program.
Exemptions from the LMIA process are based on:
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, made it clear that the Liberal government has high hopes for this initiative, not only for local economies and Canadian employers, but also for the foreign workers themselves. Giving foreign workers who arrive in Canada under this stream the means to transition to permanent resident status is a clear goal of the government.
“We want francophone minority communities in Canada to continue to be vibrant and growing. That’s why we’re going to encourage skilled francophone workers to come to Canada and settle in communities outside of Quebec, and we’re going to encourage them to apply for permanent residence if they would like to stay,” said Mr. McCallum.
At the time of writing, it remains unclear exactly what criteria may be applied in order to define which communities (and consequently, which employers) will be able to participate in the Mobilité Francophone stream.
While the majority of francophones in Canada live and work in the province of Quebec, many regions across the country continue to have vibrant francophone communities. The working language of many of these communities is generally English, but French retains an important role in the community. More than one million Canadians outside Quebec report French as being their mother tongue. The largest francophone communities outside Quebec are in Eastern Ontario and New Brunswick, but sizeable francophone communities are found in each province and territory.
The department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) aims to have francophone newcomers make up at least 4 percent of all economic immigrants settling outside Quebec by 2018, with an additional target of 4.4 percent by 2023.
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