Memo details how IRCC plans to support francophone immigration post 2023

Julia Hornstein
Published: November 28, 2023

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a goal to reach the 4.4% target of French-speaking immigrants outside of Quebec by the end of 2023. This target was reaffirmed in the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023, as well as in IRCC’s Francophone Immigration Strategy launched in 2019.

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As of September 15, 2022, the proportion of French-speaking permanent resident admissions outside Quebec was at 3.7%.

According to a memo that was released by IRCC, in support of Francophone immigration post-2023, the department is exploring certain action areas which complement the proposals under the Action Plan for Official Languages 2023-2028. These include:

  • Integration of a Francophone lens in Express Entry reforms
  • Expansion of pathways to permanent residence (PR) for French speaking international students and foreign workers
  • Expansion of partnerships, especially with provinces and territories
  • Creation of a Center of Innovation on Francophone Immigration, including a new grants and contributions program to support Francophone immigration

Francophone lens in Express Entry

The IRCC memo explains that Express Entry reforms could allow for greater flexibility in candidate selection under new authorities for category-based selection, which could create a mechanism to directly select French-speaking and bilingual candidates.

Given that Express Entry is already a key mechanism in supporting Francophone immigration, integrating a Francophone lens into the reforms could be important in maximizing the potential of Express Entry for Francophone immigration.

Expansion of TR to PR pathways for French speakers

According to the memo, the expansion of temporary resident (TR) to permanent resident (PR) pathways for French speaking international students and temporary foreign workers can be done by expanding existing programs that support this type of transition or considering new TR to PR pathways that would target specific trades or professions.

IRCC can also look at its temporary resident program as an opportunity to increase facilitation of Francophone foreign nationals who can gain valuable Canadian work experience that will qualify for permanent residence pathways.

IRCC is working to expand the Francophone mobility stream under the International Mobility Program (IMP) to include French-speaking temporary workers from all skill sets and occupations, in support of its permanent resident admission targets.

Expansion of partnerships with provinces and territories

IRCC explains that the key to the vitality of Francophone communities will be understanding the provincial and territorial labour force needs for French speaking and bilingual immigrants and promoting the benefits of these immigrants for employers and other partners.

In addition, given the varying interests for Francophone immigration across provinces and territories, IRCC hopes to work to strengthen these partnerships and work bilaterally with the interested provinces and territories to developed more tailored approaches for their individual needs.

Other strategies and initiatives to bolster Francophone communities outside of Quebec

Each year, IRCC releases a new immigration levels plan to guide its operations. The Plan breaks down permanent resident targets according to Canada’s three general immigration classes: economic, family and refugee/humanitarian.

Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026 will stabilize the number of new permanent residents in 2025 and 2026 and keeping the overall admissions target at 500,000 new PR’s in both years.

However, the goal is to welcome 26,100 francophone permanent residents outside of Quebec in 2024, 31,500 in 2025 and 36,000 in 2026. In 2026, IRCC hopes to increase the Francophone permanent resident admissions outside of Quebec by 4,500 compared to 2025. This is noteworthy as it is the only admissions category in which the target rises between 2025 and 2026, demonstrating Canada’s commitment to Francophone immigration.

In addition, as part of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2023-2028, IRCC will spend $18.5 million to promote and support recruitment for Francophone Immigration both in Canada and abroad. $50 million “will go to further consolidating the Francophone integration pathway, [including making] settlement and integration easier for newcomers to Canada and [improving] the reception capacity of Francophone minority communities.”

Finally, Canada’s Francophone Immigration Strategy, announced in 2019, aims to support the vitality of Francophone communities. In addition to reaching the target of 4.4% of Francophones outside of Quebec by 2023, the Strategy hopes to support the successful integration and retention of French speaking newcomers and strengthen the capacity of Francophone communities.

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